Polyunsaturated fatty acid status and neurodevelopment: A summary and critical analysis of the literature

Susan E. Carlson, Martha Neuringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


The rationale for randomized trials designed to measure the effects of variable docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) status on neurodevelopment in human infants came from earlier studies of neurodevelopment in animals that were deficient in DHA owing to diets low in α-linolenic acid. The session on neurodevelopment looked at the results of these animal studies and discussed outcomes that appear to be analogous in human infants with variable DHA status. Presentations focused mainly on measures of development that may be attributed to more specific developmental domains (e.g., visual attention, recognition memory, problem-solving), some of which have been shown to be affected by long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) status. This paper derives from discussions that took place during the session and reviews subsequent developments in this area. Although more difficult to interpret, global measures of infant development (e.g., the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, and Brunet-Lezine) can only suggest a relationship to specific developmental domains, but they have been applied in some randomized trials of LCPUFA and infant development. Those results are also summarized here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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