Food and Behaviour Research

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(n-6) and (n-3) Polyunsaturated fatty acids and the aging brain: food for thought.

Whelan J (2008) J Nutr.  138(12) 2521-2 

Web URL: View this and rleated abstracts via PubMed here


Over the last decade, the role of dietary PUFA in growth, development, and cognitive function in the infant has been a topic at numerous national and international meetings. Only recently has the role of PUFA been more seriously examined as they relate to the aging brain.

In fact, a search of the literature reveals very few randomized control trials exploring this research area. However, the literature reveals growing mechanistic evidence that cognitive function of the aging brain can be preserved, or loss of function can be diminished with docosahexaenoic acid, a long-chain (n-3) PUFA.

Furthermore, no symposia have taken a serious look at the impact of (n-6) PUFA on the brain, in particular arachidonic acid (AA), the most highly concentrated (n-6) PUFA in the brain.

This symposium explores the role of AA metabolism in the brain as it relates to neurological mood disorders. To that end, this symposium was designed to highlight the potential effects of dietary PUFA on the adult brain, an important issue given the growing elderly population in this country and the growing problems with neurological disorders (dementia, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, bipolar disorders, etc.)