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Spinal Cord. 2014 May;52(5):378-82. doi: 10.1038/sc.2014.30. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Does consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids influence on neurorehabilitation in traumatic spinal cord-injured individuals? A double-blinded clinical trial.

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Brain and Spinal Injury Research Center (BASIR), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Nutrition Department, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



A double-blinded randomized clinical trial.


The anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown so far, but still its influence on clinical measures in spinal cord-injured human models were not known. We tried to investigate changes in disability and dependency scores in chronic traumatic spinal cord-injured patients after 14 months of ω-3 fatty-acid consumption.


Main inclusion criteria were: traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and post injury duration longer than 1 year. Disability and dependency was assessed using U.K Functional Independence Measure and Functional Assessment Measure (FIM+FAM) scale. MorDHA capsules (435 mg of docosahexaenoic acid and 65 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid) were administered in treatment group, whereas control group received placebo capsules for 14 months. U.K. FIM+FAM scale were estimated before intervention and at the end of the trial.


Fifty-four patients in treatment group and 50 patients in placebo group completed the trial. Highest scores were detected in cognitive domain in both groups before and after intervention. Most dependency was observed in locomotion subscale and secondly in sphincter control. Scores of none of these components were changed by ω-3 fatty-acid consumption.


Although omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have neuroprotective effect in acute phase of SCI, it seems that they have no significant influence in chronic inflammatory state of SCI. The positive effect of ω-3 fatty acid in chronic neurorecovery process, if exists, is weaker to exert any significant improvement in UK FIM+FAM scores in spinal cord-injured individuals.

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