TOURS, FRANCE. Autism is a developmental disorder primarily affecting communication ability and social, cognitive, and imaginative development. Brain development is intimately linked to the structure of neuronal cell membranes and this structure again is dependent on the fatty acid composition making up the phospholipids forming the membrane. It is therefore of interest to investigate possible associations between psychiatric disorders and neuronal membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition. There is already evidence that quite strong associations may exist with regard to schizophrenia, attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. Now French researchers report that a low level of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is characteristic for blood plasma drawn from autistic children.
TOYAMA, JAPAN. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a major component in fish oil capsules, is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. It is becoming increasingly clear that a deficiency of this important nutrient can have far-ranging negative effects from fetus to old age.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND. The prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome (ASP) has increased dramatically over the past 10 years and may now affect as many as 6 out of every 1000 children under the age of 5 years. There is some evidence that ASD may involve a fatty acid imbalance in the neuronal membranes. A group of Scottish researchers has found that a deficiency in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the main components of fish oil, is clearly linked to ASD.