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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To Concuss or Not to Concuss...

"The waiting is the hardest part." {Tom Petty}

No GRE score.

I've been waiting almost a month now. 

I've been terrible.  I should really be obsessing over some new food trend but I'm happier in the interior design blogs of Cupcakes & Cashmere, Delightfully Tacky, and Department of the Interior.

Also, I'm a proud SCAN member (Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition).  
Here is a blip from SCAN's latest e-newsletter on brain injury and the athlete written by Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN and Christie Turpin RD, LDN

Dietary Influences on Concussive Injury in Sport

Concussive injury (CI) in sport is a hot topic in the news.  The athletic community is taking note of this serious issue with new regulations at the high school level and examination of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in retired NFL players.  This is an opportunity, as sports dietitians, to educate on the role we play in injury recovery.

Working with athletes in the NFL and NCAA Division I, I see this type of injury all too often.  However, CI is not limited to football players.  I have worked with cheerleaders, gymnasts, and soccer players recovering from a CI.

Dr. Christopher Giza’s SCAN Pre-Symposium presentation in March 2011 offered exciting research demonstrating the relation between diet and TBI:
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, more specifically DHA, have been shown to improve plasticity and recovery of neurons and reduce oxidative stress damage from TBI.
    Good sources:  salmon, tuna, flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
  • Vitamin E from food sources has an important role in maintaining neuronal and mitochondrial function.  It is a powerful antioxidant, reducing free radicals in the brain.
    Good sources:  nuts, spinach, asparagus, avocados, olives
  • Curcumin is a yellow curry spice and has been shown to improve neuronal function by reducing oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, and nitric oxide-based radicals.
    Good sources:  yellow mustard, Indian and Thai cuisine, curry powder
  • Caffeine has shown promise in protecting the brain against injury in animals by increasing glutamate release and inflammatory cytokine production.  Researchers found long-term consumption but not immediate intake demonstrated this benefit.
  • Saturated Fat and refined sugar has been found to decrease the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).  BDNF plays an important role in protecting neurons from insult as well as modulating synaptic transmission.