BENGALURU: If you have trouble swallowing or can’t eat or drink enough through your mouth, you may need a feeding tube. You may get one through your nose or mouth for a few days or weeks while you recover from an illness. But medical nutritional therapy doesn’t end with sticking a tube in the patient.
Nutrition has to be customised scientifically according to the needs of the patients, be it cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s or other neurological disorders, especially in children. The science of it was discussed at a neuro-nutrition conference organised by Indian Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and city-based Brains Neuro Spine Centre here on Wednesday.
Dr N K Venkataramana, Chief Neurosurgeon of the hospital, said, “Brain is the first organ to develop in humans. Right from the pre-conception stage, neonatal stage, childhood, and right through adulthood and old age, right nutrition is very important. This, in turn, can lead to delay in brain development, brain damage and cause serious neuro problems, like epilepsy.”
The day-long conference attracted over 100 participants. A booklet titled “Food for Thought: Nutritional Guidelines for Brain” was also released. The conference was aimed at educating dieticians and nutritionists about the importance of medical nutritional therapies in various neurological disorders and feeding practices in neuro and trauma critical care. Nutrition support in critical care is the use of oral, enteral or parenteral feeding as part of medical nutritional therapy.
In head injury, paediatric patients’ energy expenditure has been estimated to be as high as 120-250% of the normal. For every 10° rise in body temperature, 10% calories should be given extra.
“Nutrition plays an important role in nervous disorders and in neuro and trauma critical care. Establishing nutrition support teams and protocols in hospitals and effective team work is the right approach for addressing malnutrition among patients,” said, Dr Sreemathy Venkatraman, Chief Dietician and Nutritionist at Brains.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease where the immune system eats away into the protective covering of the nerves. Results from ongoing trials show that there is decreased radiological disease activity with high dose vitamin D supplementation.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic progressive neuro-degenerative disorder resulting from dopamine depletion in the brain. Symptoms include tremor, muscular rigidity and postural instability. Nutritional interventions include altering the texture of the food for easy swallowing (mashed food), redistributing protein throughout the day, high fibre foods and adequate fluids.