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Vitamins, supplements used to treat brain injuries

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It happens more than a 1.5 million times every year in this country: someone suffers a traumatic brain injury. That's what happened to 18-year-old Lacy Adamson of Newton County last year.

When Lacy was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in critical condition, a whole team of specialists was waiting for her in the hospital's level one trauma center. But Lacy's parents believe what saved their daughter was a $5 combination of vitamins and supplements.

Lacy likes kicking back with the guitar, but it's cheerleading she really loved.

For her parents, Lori and Donnie Adamson, just having the only child they worked so hard to conceive and then almost lost feels like a gift.

"She was a miracle when she was born, and she was a miracle on that day," said Lori Adamson.

"That day" was July 10, 2012.  Lacey was driving back to Mansfield from cheerleading practice.

"Her tire sort of left the road and hit a pot hole -- a huge pothole," said Lori.

Lacy, who was wearing a seatbelt, swerved left and then right, flipping her pickup truck several times into a pasture as she was ejected.

"And the next thing I remember is the sound of helicopter rotors," said Lacy Adamson.

"My first prayer was, 'Just don't take her.' That was my first recollection that this is going to be bad," Lori Adamson.

And it was.        

Lacey was airlifted to the Grady Trauma Center, where Morehouse School of Medicine trauma surgeon Dr. Leslie Matthews was standing by.

"The paramedics reported that she was seizing, which is a bad, ominous sign," Matthews said.

CT scans showed Lacy's brain was swelling dangerously, covered with tiny lesions, called a diffuse axonal injury.

"This is when the neurons are just sheered, or just ripped. And the prognosis for this is very bad," said Matthews.

As the Grady team worked to stabilize Lacy, Dr. Matthews began another type of treatment.

Lacy was given vitamin d and Omega Three fatty acids -- two powerful natural anti-inflammatories -- to reduce her brain swelling. She was given the hormone progesterone and liquid glutamine -- an amino acid -- to protect her damaged nerve cells.

Every brain trauma patient at Grady receives the same supplements..

"So basically you're giving the body what it needs to heal itself," said Matthews. "The body, the way God designed the body.. is to heal itself if you give it the right nutrients."      
"I can't explain it, I don't have all the answers about it, but there is something to that therapy that absolutely works," said Lori Adamson.

Matthews said that Lacy began to wake up and follow simple commands in three days. She was taken off of the breathing machine on day 10.

Lacy had to relearn how to walk and talk slowly and she recovered her memory. Fourteen months after her accident, she's almost fully-recovered.

"There is something to it, I mean have my child back.  There is something to it," said Lori Adamson.

Lacy just started college at Georgia Perimeter. She hopes to become a child life specialist at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where her mom works as an ER nurse.

Dr. Matthews believes supplements like vitamin D can not only help treat brain injuries, they can help prevent them.


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