Psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depression are common after a traumatic brain injury, however it is not well understood why some people develop post-traumatic psychiatric illness and others do not.
A recent animal study found that a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid during early life may predispose the brain to psychiatric illness by changing the way the brain maintains homeostasis (a state of stability), as well as alter brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to adapt and learn). These early alterations may also influence the brain's reaction to injury in later life.
The research suggest that a long-term neural resistance may be built up from an early age to counter the effects of traumatic brain injury, and potentially reduce the risk of post-traumatic psychiatric illness. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids from an early age may be one way to build this resistance.
Agrawal R, Tyagi E, Vergnes L, et al. Coupling energy homeostasis with a mechanism to support plasticity in brain trauma. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. (April 2014).