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ω-3 Fatty Acids: Impact on Cognitive Development and Inflammation

Forchielli, Maria Luisa MD, MPH, FACG; Walker, W. Allan MD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e3182303fc4
Nutrition and Cognition

Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (linolenic acid, 18:3n-3; eicosapentaenoic acid, 20:5n-3; and docosahexaenoic acid 22:6n-3) are essential for vertebrates and must be included in the diet to maintain the structural and functional integrity of cellular membranes. The ω-3 fatty acid series widely acts from cellular to body level with multiple therapeutic and preventive benefits. This review aims to summarize the role of ω-3 fatty acids in cognitive development in the prenatal and postnatal periods and their effect on inflammation during early life

An update on the potential role of ω-3's in two important areas

Maria Luisa Forchielli, MD, MPH, FACG, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Bologna, Italy.

W. Allan Walker, MD, is Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition, professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and chief of Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: W. Allan Walker, MD, Harvard Medical School, Mucosal Immunology Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital, 114 16th St (114-3503), Charlestown, MA 02129-4404 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.