Exploratory study into the relation between plasma phospholipid fatty acid status and cognitive performance

R.H.M. de Groot*, G. Hornstra, J. Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previous research found a negative association between DHA status and selective attention in pregnant women. Goal of the present exploratory study is to investigate the potential relationship between essential fatty acid status and cognitive performance in a healthy non-pregnant population. Cognitive performance of 54 non-pregnant women was determined at baseline, 3, 15, and 22 weeks later with an objective neurocognitive test battery covering different brain domains. Plasma phospholipid fatty acid status was determined at baseline and at 22 weeks. The fatty acids of primary interest (arachidonic acid, adrenic acid, Osbond acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid) were no significant predictors of cognitive performance at baseline or 22 weeks later. However, they attributed significantly (26.3%) to the amount of explained variance of the learning effect on the Stroop task, measuring general speed of information processing. Higher docosahexaenoic acid levels were associated with a slower learning curve. For arachidonic acid the opposite was found. In conclusion, this study provides a preliminary indication that a higher DHA status might be associated with slower learning curves. However, additional studies are necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-172
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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