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Sex differences in the relationship of dietary Fatty acids to cognitive measures in american children.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22065957     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Because the first neurons evolved in an environment high in the n-3 (omega-3) fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), this fatty acid became a major component of neural structure and function and makes up 10% of the dry weight of the human brain. Since n-3 fatty acids must come from the diet, this suggests a possible positive role for dietary n-3 fatty acids in cognition and a possible negative role for n-6 fatty acids, which compete with n-3 for access to critical enzymes. Because human females must provide DHA for the growth of the unusually large brains of their offspring from maternal fat stored during childhood, their need for DHA is especially great. We used stepwise regression to determine whether particular dietary fatty acids and other nutrients were related to cognitive performance in over 4000 American children aged 6-16 from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; a variety of possible biological, social, and environmental risk factors were statistically controlled. In this context the only dietary factors related to cognitive performance were n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. Dietary n-3 fatty acids were positively related to cognitive test scores in male and female children, while n-6 showed the reverse relationship, significantly so in females. In female children the positive effects of n-3 intake were twice as strong as in males and exceeded the negative effects of lead exposure. This suggests that increasing dietary intake of n-3 and decreasing n-6 fatty acids may have cognitive benefits in children, especially in females.
Authors:
William D Lassek; Steven J C Gaulin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-11-02
Journal Detail:
Title:  Frontiers in evolutionary neuroscience     Volume:  3     ISSN:  1663-070X     ISO Abbreviation:  Front Evol Neurosci     Publication Date:  2011  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-11-08     Completed Date:  2011-11-10     Revised Date:  2013-08-13    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101509173     Medline TA:  Front Evol Neurosci     Country:  Switzerland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  5     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
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