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Report: High Fructose Corn Syrup May Hamper Brain Injury Recovery

While there have been a lot of advances in the fields of neurology and neurosurgery as a result of the many soldiers injured in the global war on terror, traumatic brain injury still presents many mysteries to surgeons and those in the allied medical community who work with head injury victims.

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According to a recent news article from the UCLA Newsroom, a new study has shown that eating high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can actually hamper a victim’s recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI).   The study was done using laboratory rats that had suffered traumatic brain injury.

As part of the study, standard lab rats were given five days to escape a complicated maze. These rats were fed normal “rat chow” and either pure water or water mixed with high fructose corn syrup for six weeks prior to being placed in the maze. The corn syrup was a crystalized variety and was given in an equivalent dose a human would ingest when drinking regular soda.

The following week, these rats were given a pulse of liquid to the head designed to simulate head trauma in humans. Six weeks after the simulated head trauma, the rats were put back in the maze. This time, the rats on the corn syrup diet took significantly longer to complete the maze than the control group.

Specifically, the researchers discovered that the corn syrup affected the biological processes in the human brain during the period of recovery from the simulated brain injury. The HFCS impaired the ability of neurons to interact with each other, so they could not reestablish connections and record memories, or allow the brain to operate in a normal manner.

As our Boston head injury victim’s attorneys understand, this research may also apply to how humans will be affected by high fructose corn syrup during the recovery process from a traumatic brain injury. This is a significant issue, because as the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDS) have estimated, there are more than 1.7 million victims of traumatic brain injury each year in the nation, and 52,000 of these victims will not survive the brain injury.   Those who do survive are likely to face a lifetime of rehabilitation, including multiple future brain surgeries, as will as physical and occupational therapy.   I many cases, it is necessary for victims to relearn basic tasks such as talking, walking, eating, and, in some cases, even breathing without the assistance of a respiratory assistive device.

While it is not known at this time if high fructose corn syrup hampers the ability of a human victim to recover from traumatic brain injury, any chance that it might should be a good enough reason to avoid foods sweetened with HFCS while recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Regardless of whether high fructose corn syrup has this effect on human TBI victims, other studies have established a link between the sweetener and cancer, diabetes, obesity and liver disease, so it is best to avoid the substance for other reasons.

If you are injured in an accident in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

High-fructose diet hampers recovery from traumatic brain injury ,October 2, 2015, UCLA Newsroom, Elaine Schmidt

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New Guidelines for Identifying Causes of Newborn Brain Injury
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