Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a significant issue both in the US population and in US service personnel. Deployed service personnel serving in combat zones are especially at risk for sustaining a TBI when compared to their civilian peers. Poly-trauma may result due to varying levels of blast injury, further complicating immediate treatment for TBI. Thus far, no clinical treatments have proven effective for the treatment of primary TBI. Development of supportive therapies that decrease inflammation, as recommended in a recent report from the Institute of Medicine, would therefore be expected to improve symptoms and/or slow disease progression. Since berries contain high levels of the antioxidant flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, and seem to possess beneficial immune modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties in the peripheral and central nervous system tissues, they may prove beneficial in prevention and/or treatment of TBI. In rodent models of oxidative stress and inflammation (ionizing radiation), addition of berries to the diet reduced damage from to control levels. Additionally, we and others have show that dietary supplementation with berries at a modest level is capable of both suppressing and ameliorating symptoms that are a result of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative processes. We hypothesize that dietary supplementation with whole- freeze dried berries will be efficacious in preventing and treating neuroinflammatory components of TBI. Therefore, we will test this hypothesis by examining the following specific aims: Objective 1: To test the effect of berry powders on clinical, histological, and inflammatory signs present in a rat model of TBI when berries are administered before the onset of injury. Objective 2: To test the effect of berry powder on clinical, histological, and inflammatory signs present in a rat model of TBI when berries are administered after the evolution of symptoms. In summary, the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of berries provide an ideal strategy as they are easily administered orally, have low toxicity profiles and they can be combined with other medications. Development of an orally delivered supportive therapeutic that is low cost and easily tolerated but without the side effects of current treatments would greatly improve the care of patients suffering from TBI.
TBI may account for up to 1/3 of all combat injuries. Although many soldiers seem to recover from mild TBI within months, 10 to 15% report ongoing difficulty in cognition for years. Initial an subsequent damage are thought to be caused by oxidative stress, metabolic disturbances and inflammation. Agents that reduce inflammation are therefore expected to decrease injury severity and long-term disability. Berries contain high levels of the antioxidant flavonoids and have beneficial immune modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties and may prove beneficial in prevention and/or treatment of TBI. They are easily orally administered, have low toxicity profiles and can be combined with other medications. Development of a low cost, orally delivered, adjuvant therapy that is easily tolerated, and has a low side effect profile, would greatly improve the care of patients exposed to or suffering from TBI.