Navigation Links
New study links DHA type of omega-3 to better nervous-system function
Date:12/16/2009

WASHINGTON The omega-3 essential fatty acids commonly found in fatty fish and algae help animals avoid sensory overload, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington's disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system.

The study, reported in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, provides more evidence that fish is brain food. The key finding was that two omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) appear to be most useful in the nervous system, maybe by maintaining nerve-cell membranes.

"It is an uphill battle now to reverse the message that 'fats are bad,' and to increase omega-3 fats in our diet," said Norman Salem Jr., PhD, who led this study at the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The body cannot make these essential nutrients from scratch. It gets them by metabolizing their precursor, α-linolenic acid (LNA), or from foods or dietary supplements with DHA and EPA in a readily usable form. "Humans can convert less than one percent of the precursor into DHA, making DHA an essential nutrient in the human diet," added Irina Fedorova, PhD, one of the paper's co-authors. EPA is already known for its anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects, but DHA makes up more than 90 percent of the omega-3s in the brain (which has no EPA), retina and nervous system in general.

In the study, the researchers fed four different diets with no or varying types and amounts of omega-3s to four groups of pregnant mice and then their offspring. They measured how the offspring, once grown, responded to a classic test of nervous-system function in which healthy animals are exposed to a sudden loud noise. Normally, animals flinch. However, when they hear a softer tone in advance, they flinch much less. It appears that normal nervous systems use that gentle warning to prepare instinctively for future stimuli, an adaptive process called sensorimotor gating.

Only the mice raised on DHA and EPA, but not their precursor of LNA, showed normal, adaptive sensorimotor gating by responding in a significantly calmer way to the loud noises that followed soft tones. The mice in all other groups, when warned, were startled nearly as much by the loud sound. When DHA was deficient, the nervous system most obviously did not downshift. That resulted in an abnormal state that could leave animals perpetually startled and easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.

The authors concluded that not enough DHA in the diet may reduce the ability to handle sensory input. "It only takes a small decrement in brain DHA to produce losses in brain function," said Salem.

In humans, weak sensorimotor gating is a hallmark of many nervous-system disorders such as schizophrenia or ADHD. Given mounting evidence of the role omega-3s play in the nervous system, there is intense interest in their therapeutic potential, perhaps as a supplement to medicines. For example, people with schizophrenia have lower levels of essential fatty acids, possibly from a genetic variation that results in poor metabolism of these nutrients.

More broadly, the typical American diet is much lower in all types of omega-3 than in omega-6 essential fatty acids, according to Salem. High intake of omega-6, or linoleic acid, reduces the body's ability to incorporate omega-3s. As a result, "we have the double whammy of low omega-3 intake and high omega-6 intake," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Public Affairs Office
public.affairs@apa.org
202-336-5700
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Penn study finds pro-death proteins required to regulate healthy immune function
2. New study shows promise in reducing surgical risks associated with surgical bleeding
3. Study, meta-analysis examine factors associated with death from heatstroke
4. Study suggests loss of 2 types of neurons -- not just 1 -- triggers Parkinsons symptoms
5. Study says COPD testing is not measuring up
6. Preclinical study suggests organ-transplant drug may aid in lupus fight
7. Ability to cope with stress can increase good cholesterol in older white men, study finds
8. High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk, Tulane study says
9. Mailman School of Public Health study examines link between racial discrimination and substance use
10. Pitt study finds inequality in tobacco advertising
11. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... ... Lori G. Cohen and Sara K. Thompson , shareholders in global law ... 21st Drug & Medical Device Litigation Conference , taking place in New York Dec. ... chairs the firm’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Health Care Litigation Practice and the Trial ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... , ... Advanced Inc., a leading provider of travel therapy and travel nursing ... as Advanced Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer, effective December 1, 2016. Jason previously served as ... operational leadership experience to Advanced Inc. He began his career in finance at Ernst ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... ... With the number of pain management programs available for people suffering with constant ... works for them. When an inventor from Suisun City, Calif., was unsuccessful in finding ... it with others. , He developed a prototype for PRO GO MASSAGE to relieve ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... CloudLIMS.com, a ... SaaS LIMS, CloudLIMS Lite. CloudLIMS Lite helps biobanks, clinical, research and testing laboratories ... and disposal. The new version is a faster and a more efficient product, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, at The House of Yahweh in Abilene, ... into Bible Prophecy. Yisrayl says this generation, known as the Last Generation, started in ... the details line up exactly with Bible Prophecy – a protected way for those ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 2, 2016 On ... Committee honored excellence in research, development and innovation in ... gala dinner was held in the presence of Sergey ... Russian Federation , Natalia Sanina, First ... Mikhail Murashko , Head of Roszdravnadzor, National Service of ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: CVS ... City on Thursday, December 15, 2016, beginning at 8:00 a.m. (ET). Senior ... an in-depth review of the company,s strategies to drive ... also discuss 2017 earnings guidance during the event. ... will be broadcast simultaneously on the Investor Relations portion ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- On Thursday, the NASDAQ Composite and the ... Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to stay in green. Losses ... prompted Stock-callers this morning to look at the performances of ... ), Smith & Nephew PLC (NYSE: SNN ), ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: KOOL ). You can access ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: