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Results of Study in Pre-School Children Published in Clinical Pediatrics Adds to Support for Importance of Dietary DHA Intake

COLUMBIA, Md., June 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A study published in the May issue of Clinical Pediatrics indicates that higher DHA levels are associated with improved listening comprehension and vocabulary skills in preschool children. The study, "Assessing the Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Cognitive Functions in Healthy, Preschool Children: A Randomized, Placebo- Controlled, Double-Blind Study," evaluated whether DHA supplementation had an effect on four tests of cognitive function. The research demonstrated that supplementation with 400 mg of DHA per day significantly increased the amount of DHA in the blood of the children. While the researchers did not find any statistically significant differences in the scores between the placebo and treatment groups for any of the four tests, a preplanned regression analysis yielded a statistically significant positive association between a higher DHA level in the blood and higher scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III). PPVT-III is a cognitive test designed to measure listening comprehension and vocabulary skills, and performance on the test is an indicator of school readiness.

"DHA is a building block of the brain and is important to brain development and function throughout life," said Dr. Edward B. Nelson, medical director for Martek. "The finding that higher levels of DHA in the blood are associated with better cognitive performance in pre-school children is an extension of the evidence of the beneficial effects of DHA supplementation seen during pregnancy and infancy."

Funded by Martek Biosciences and conducted at 11 sites across the United States under the management of Premier Research Laboratories, this randomized, placebo-controlled and double-blind study evaluated the effect of DHA supplementation on the cognitive function of healthy, four-year-old children. The 175 children in the study were given either 400 mg per day of Martek's life'sDHA(TM) or a placebo for four months. DHA blood levels were measured using a new finger-stick blood test designed by Martek. Cognitive function was measured with four tests, including the PPVT-III. Tests were administered by licensed psychologists with at least of five years of pediatric experience.

"The results of this research are promising and highlight the need to further investigate the relationship between DHA and cognitive development and performance in children," said Dr. Richard Litov, director of Pedia Research L.L.C., and a lead investigator for the study. "This is especially important in light of the fact that most U.S. children get less than 30 mg of DHA per day through diet, far less than what many experts recommend."

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3 is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a primary building block for the brain and the eyes and supports brain, eye and cardiovascular health throughout life. There is a large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that people of all ages, from infants to aging adults, benefit from an adequate supply of DHA omega-3 in the diet. Scientific reviews highlight the importance of DHA omega-3 in proper brain and eye development and function, and clinical studies are underway to evaluate the role of DHA in decreasing the prevalence of certain neurological disorders. DHA is especially important for healthy growth and development during the early stages of life when the brain, eyes and nervous system are growing and developing at a rate unlike any other time in the human lifecycle. Studies have shown that babies who receive DHA supplementation exhibit a range of advantages over those who did not receive DHA supplementation, including cognitive and visual benefits. Yet despite its importance, Americans have among the lowest dietary intakes of DHA omega-3 in the world.

Fish are often thought to be the only source of DHA omega-3. However, life'sDHA offers a trusted, vegetarian form of DHA that contains no oceanic pollutants and toxins. Fish become a source of DHA because of the DHA-rich microalgae in their food chain; life'sDHA is derived from microalgae and produced in an FDA-inspected facility from start to finish using a sustainable source that does not deplete ocean resources. life'sDHA is found in numerous foods, beverages and supplements for people of all ages. It is also the only source of DHA used in U.S. infant formula and is available in more than 95 percent of the formulas on the U.S. market.

Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) is a leader in the innovation and development of DHA omega-3 products that promote health and wellness through every stage of life. The company produces life'sDHA, a sustainable and vegetarian source of DHA omega-3, for use in foods, beverages, infant formula, and supplements, and life'sARA(TM) (arachidonic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid, for use in infant formula. For more information on Martek Biosciences, visit For a complete list of life'sDHA products, visit

Sections of this release contain forward-looking statements. These statements are based upon numerous assumptions which Martek cannot control and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ. These statements should be understood in light of the risk factors set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, the company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2007 and other filed reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-K/A, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.


Cassie France-Kelly

Public Relations, Martek

(443) 542-2116

SOURCE Martek Biosciences Corporation
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