|MadSci Network: Development|
Hello, Sorry for the delay, but we haven't been able to find an expert to answer your question. Although brain development is not my field of study, I did a search on the WWW and came up with the following information: Source 1: DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid - is a long chain, polyunsaturated fatty acid, and is the primary component of brain tissue, especially brain cell membranes. It is required for optimal transmission of nerve cell signals. I got this from an advertisement for a DHA supplement, so I don't know how accurate it is. http://www.togoodhealth.com/B rainandEye.htm Source 2: A slightly more trustworthy reference, The Good Drug Guide claims that lack of DHA can cause learning disorders, and many psychiatric and non-psychiatric disorders. Source 3: This reference explains the importance of DHA in fetal brain development and even has actual journal article references. Here are some recent journal article references I found about DHA and its pontetial effect on fetal health: Heird WC. The role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in term and preterm infants and breastfeeding mothers. Pediatr Clin North Am 2001 Feb;48(1):173-188. Innis SM. The role of dietary n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in the developing brain. Dev Neurosci 2000 Sep;22(5-6):474-480. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Essential fatty acids and the brain: possible health implications. Int J Dev Neurosci 2000 Jul;18(4-5):383-399. The importance of DHA in brain development still seems to be under debate in the scientific community, but there seems to be correlative evidence by the advertisers of health foods that it is good for you. Hope this is helpful, Sanjida N.B. - DHA is synthesized by normal neural cells in large quantities in order to support the needs of the nervous tissues. Here are some papers on DHA synthesis and regulation: "Docosahexaenoic Acids/isolation and purification"[MESH] searched on PubMed
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