Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Erin Miller

Second Advisor

Curtis Bradley

Third Advisor

Chase Hale

Degree Award Date

Fall 2019


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), omega-3s, fatty acids, DHA, recovery, head injury


Biology | Exercise Science | Psychiatry and Psychology


Past research has been conducted on rats and mice to determine behavioral and physiological effects of omega-3 fatty acids on recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI). These studies found that omega-3s can be helpful for recovery from TBI, however, the results did not carry over to human clinical trials. This paper aimed to compare and analyze the results of these studies through meta-analysis to help explain why omega-3 fatty acids were not as effective for human recovery from head injury. A systematic literature search was completed to obtain all studies that looked at this effect. Some of the articles acquired looked at the effect of DHA which is specific kind of omega-3 in the body. It was found that most studies did not provide enough statistical data to complete a meta-analysis; therefore, the results were analyzed and compared without statistical methods. For the rest of the paper, the results of various behavioral tests and histological tests were compared among the studies. Many of the studies showed that omega-3s had effects that were statistically significant, however, they had small sample sizes which could have exaggerated the effect size seen. This overestimation may explain why similar results were not shown in human studies. Future studies should include all statistical information found so other studies can complete meta-analyses. Future studies should also use larger sample sizes to improve the likelihood that an estimated effect size is similar to the real effect size. While the functions of omega-3s appear to be a good treatment for the complexities of traumatic brain injuries, it is still unclear if they will be effective enough to help recover from this debilitating injury.

Recommended Citation

Wampler, Sarah. “The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury.” Senior Honors Projects, Bridgewater College, 2019.

Force Open Access


Honors Project Application Form.pdf (1179 kB)
Application Form