Brain and Central Nervous System

Aspirin-Triggered Resolvin D1 Prevents Cognitive Decline Associated with Surgery

Animal and human studies have demonstrated that, in the metabolic syndrome or elderly patients with an acute illness, those who undergo surgery often experience a surgery-induced sharp decline in cognition. Similar impairments have been observed in patients with severe infection, chemotherapy, trauma and heart failure, with cognitive improvements more likely with cardiac treatment. Cognitive decline is also associated with postoperative delirium and may lead to prolonged impairment. Post-surgical cognitive dysfunction is also associated with an increased risk of mortality. The effect of anesthesia alone on cognition may be difficult to…

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DHA Supplementation in Healthy Young Adults Linked to Improved Memory Scores

Higher concentrations of DHA in brain have been associated with improved memory performance in individuals with mild cognitive impairment, age-related cognitive decline, preterm infants fed LC-PUFA-supplemented formula, school-aged children with higher umbilical cord DHA concentrations and better cognitive performance in non-demented elderly with memory complaints.  Supplementation with EPA + DHA was also associated with significantly improved working memory in a small sample of healthy young adults. In contrast to these reports, others have reported more rapid short-term memory loss with DHA supplementation in young females and no effect in healthy older…

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High-Dose DHA-Rich Fish Oil May Improve Memory in Early Cognitive Impairment

Many characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease are agreed, but the origins, cause, physiological processes and progression of this debilitating condition are not. For example, it has been suggested that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional phase between normal cognitive changes in aging and the development of dementia. Some estimate that more than half the individuals with MCI advance to Alzheimer’s disease within 5 years. Others assert that most people with MCI will not progress to dementia even after 10 years. Tracking the processes involved in Alzheimer’s disease has become more…

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Pretreatment with High-Dose n-3 LC-PUFAs Mitigates Damage and Improves Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury

The importance of DHA in the recovery from spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries has been demonstrated in DHA-treated animals that exhibit dramatic improvements in motor function, greatly reduced neuronal loss, improved learning, less oxidative stress, and more rapid recovery. This work suggests that supplementation with DHA immediately after injury would improve cellular and functional recovery in humans as well. A recent case report describing the use of high-dose EPA and DHA (19.2 g n-3 LC-PUFAs/day) for more than a year in a patient with severe traumatic brain injury has…

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Older Adults with Higher Blood EPA Lose Less Amygdala Gray Matter with Aging

As people live longer, they are more likely to develop one or more of the chronic diseases of aging, particularly dementia. The most common type of dementia in older adults is Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive condition of brain degeneration. We still do not know why some of us develop the condition and others do not. Neither do we know how to prevent it. Moreover, once Alzheimer’s disease sets in, there are few treatment options for improvement. Some treatments may be more effective if they are begun in the earliest stages…

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DHA After Spinal Cord Injury Linked to Improved Recovery of Motor Function in Mice

About 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur every year in the U.S., often with crippling consequences. Most of the injuries occur in men as a result of automobile accidents, falls, violence and sports. Decompression surgery, rehabilitation therapy and pharmacologic agents may ease the damage, but functional recovery remains very limited. More promising therapies may be on the horizon as scientists examine substances that limit the damage to nerve cells and promote cell and functional recovery. A leading candidate in this research is DHA, one of the principal long-chain omega-3 fatty…

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Higher Maternal PUFAs Not Methylmercury Associated with Language Scores at Age 5

The importance of long-chain PUFAs, especially arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids, in fetal and infant development is now well recognized, yet the consumption of fish and seafoods, the primary food source of the omega-3 long-chain PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs), is clouded by concerns about the developmental effects of contaminants. All fish contain some mercury in the form of methylmercury, a known neurotoxin. Yet fish consumption in pregnancy at levels above the U.S. recommended amount is most often associated with better performance scores on tests of cognition and behavior in the offspring, even…

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Maternal Fish Consumption Associated with Fewer Symptoms of ADHD-Like Behavior

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral disorders in childhood and its occurrence appears to be increasing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that parent-reported ADHD increased 20% from 2001-2003 to 2007-2009, from 7.5% to 9.0 % of children aged 5 to 17 years of age. Others have estimated that the worldwide prevalence ranges between 8% and 12% of all children. A recent review of prevalence studies estimated the prevalence of ADHD among children and adolescents at 5.9% to 7.1%. Caution is warranted…

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Amygdala Atrophy, Plasma EPA and Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Much is known about the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia in older adults, but little is clear about what triggers the condition and how it develops. Why do some people develop the disease and others do not? Diagnosis is only known with certainty from postmortem analysis. A range of physical, neurological, laboratory, neuroimaging and psychological evaluations form the basis of a clinical diagnosis, but onset of the disease is believed to begin 20 to 30 years before the first clinical symptoms. New criteria for the…

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Improved Motor Function and Less Cell Loss With DHA in Mouse Spinal Cord Injury

Traumatic spinal cord injury has severe consequences for survivors including pain, paralysis and impaired sensory and motor function and various effects in the cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and autonomic systems. The consequences depend on the site and extent of the injury. Surgical decompression, especially when performed within 24 hours after the injury is associated with improved neurological outcomes, although the timing of surgical decompression is controversial. Pharmacologic and neuroprotective agents tested in spinal cord injury include erythropoietin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, minocycline and progesterone. A promising agent for neuroprotection, cell survival and…

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