Mental Health and Cognition

Positive Effects of DHA in Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury results in 53,000 deaths in the U.S. every year (Figure), with nearly twice that number suffering permanent disability, including diminished cognitive ability. Treatments with long-term benefits are few and of limited effectiveness.  Progesterone may have neurological benefits and is in a Phase III clinical trial for patients with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. Attention has also turned to the potential effects of DHA in preventing and ameliorating traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. DHA involvement in neuronal membrane structure and function, learning and memory, as well as neuroplasticity…

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Is Suicide in US Military Personnel Related to Low DHA Status?

Suicide is a global problem that is more prevalent among adolescents, the elderly, war veterans and active-duty military personnel. The latter are of particular concern regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, among whom suicide is the second leading cause of death (13.1%) compared with the ninth rank for the general US adult population (1.8%). Up to 2009, the number of suicides exceeded the number of combat deaths in the US military. Although a past attempted suicide is a strong predictor of suicide, other conditions, such as mental disorders, including depressive…

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Perinatal Omega-3 Deficiency May Condition Future Sensitivity to Food Reward and Impaired Energy Expenditure

This article at a glance Is it possible that the quality of food during gestation and around birth sets the stage for the eating behaviour of the offspring when they become adults? This study reports that in mice a perinatal deficiency in dietary omega-3 fatty acids has long-lasting effects into adulthood, enhancing the brain circuits for reward, enhancing the anxiety state and reducing spontaneous activity. The results provide experimental support for the hypothesis that dietary omega-3 LCPUFA deficiency during pregnancy increases the motivation to eat easily palatable foods that may…

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DHA – Are Memories Made of This?

This article at a glance The hippocampal-prefrontal cortex (H-PFC) pathway is a neuronal circuit that is central to integrating working memory with contextual information, facilitating executive function, such as making decisions. A recent neuroscience study in the rat reports that enzymatic conversion of DHA may underlie the regulation of synaptic plasticity in the H-PFC pathway. Enzymatically-generated DHA-derived lipid mediators, such as resolvin D1, are suggested to function as key regulators of long-term potentiation of hippocampul input to the cortex, allowing memory formation. The research contributes to our understanding of how…

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Failure to Replicate Findings on Omega-3 LCPUFA Supplementation on the Transition to Psychotic Disorder in Individuals at Ultra-High Risk

This article at a glance Psychotic disorders encompass serious psychiatric disorders, manifesting themselves in the altered perception of reality, such as delusions or hallucinations, disorganized or bizarre behaviors and “negative” symptoms, which include flatness of emotion and interpersonal relations and amotivation. Psychotic disorders, when chronic, are characterized by low functioning and a poor prognosis. A previous study demonstrated a lowered risk of progression of illness for first episode onset of psychosis in young adults. This study aimed to build upon these findings in a multicentre study of individuals at ultra-high…

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Identifying People with Depressive Symptoms that May Benefit Most from Omega-3 Fatty Acid Consumption

This article at a glance In an observational study of a cohort of Puerto Ricans, only those individuals with the highest level of urinary 8-hydroxy-2´-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker of oxidative stress, showed an inverse relationship between the omega-3 index (combined EPA and DHA as percentage of red blood cell fatty acids) and depressive symptoms. The study suggests that it may be possible to better identify people who may benefit most from the antidepressant effect of increased omega-3 fatty acid consumption.   Evidence is accumulating to support the use of EPA-rich…

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Omega-3 LCPUFA Status may Determine the Effectiveness of Supplemental B-Vitamin Intake in Decreasing the Rate of Cognitive Decline in Elderly People

This article at a glance Alzheimer’s Disease is an accelerated form of age-related cognitive decline characterized by brain atrophy. This study has uncovered a previously unknown association between higher omega-3 LCPUFA status and the potential for inhibition by supplemental B-vitamin intake of progressive brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment in elderly people. The results of this study set the stage for controlled trials that will be able to confirm if omega-3 LCPUFA sufficiency is determining the potential for inhibition of cognitive decline by the combination of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12…

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Advances in Understanding the Relationship between Child Problem Behavior and Maternal Long-Chain PUFA Intake

This article at a glance An important area in omega-3 research addresses the possibility to prevent or alleviate ADHD in childhood by omega-3 supplementaton with omega-3 LCPUFA of mothers during pregnancy or the children with ADHD themselves. A higher n-3:n-6 ratio during mid-pregnancy was found to be associated with fewer emotional, but not behavioral, problems in six-year old children. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled intervention trial with 8-14 year old boys with ADHD it was found that attention levels improved in boys that received omega-3 LCPUFA supplementation for four months….

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Increased Length of Gestation Linked with Self-reported Omega-3 Use during Pregnancy in Women at High Risk due to Psychiatric and Psychotropic Use

This article at a glance In this report the authors demonstrate that omega-3 fatty acids should be researched further as a variable to decrease obstetrical risk in women with psychiatric disorders Further research is needed as the data is consistent with the existing literature that omega-3 fatty acids can lengthen gestation. It is not yet clear that omega-3 intake offers a robust prevention of prematurity on its own, but may modify risk in an at-risk sample.   The impact of psychiatric illness during pregnancy is generally an increased risk of obstetrical…

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EPA/DHA – Perspectives for Neuropsychological Improvement in Malnourished Pre-adolescent Children

Malnutrition, defined by insufficient energy and protein intake, seriously affects cognitive functions. Nutritional deficiencies early in a child’s development have marked consequences for cognitive development and overall growth at later ages of development. Malnutrition is a preventable malady but is tightly linked to low socio-economic status, hampering implementation of corrective strategies. Along with insufficient energy and protein intake, generalized or specific micronutrient deficiencies can occur. Omega-3 deficiencies can also result from malnutrition, as a result of i) the utilization of dietary linolenic acid to generate energy, ii) deficient transformation of…

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