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Low Blood DHA Levels Linked to Decreased Reading Ability and Memory Performance in Children
Date:7/10/2013

  • Lower DHA concentrations were associated with poorer reading ability (p=<.042) and working memory performance (p=<.001);
  • Lower DHA was associated with higher levels of parent-rated oppositional behavior (p=<.0001) and emotional lability (p=<.0001);
  • Researchers looked at the diet of each child and found that 88.2 percent of children ate fish less than twice a week and 9 percent did not eat fish at all, as reported by their parents.
  • Reading was accessed using the Word Reading Achievement sub-test of the British Ability Scales (BAS II). The Recall of Digits Forward and Recall of Digits Backward subtests from BAS II were utilized as measures for working memory. To measure behavior, ADHD-type symptoms were evaluated by both parents and teachers using the Conners' Rating Scales (CPRS-L and CTRS-L).

    DOLAB intervention trial

    The observational study was carried out as part of the DHA Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB) randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which found increased dietary intake of algal DHA in school-aged children with low reading levels demonstrated significant improvements in reading performance and behavior. Following the positive results found in the subgroup populations, a follow-on study is currently underway at the University of Oxford to explore a larger sample size of children who are underperforming (<20th percentile) in reading performance.

    The importance of DHA throughout life

    DHA is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat in the brain, accounting for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain. Numerous studies confirm that everyone, from infants to adults, benefits from an adequate supply of DHA. Throughout every stage of life, DHA is proven to be important for brain health.

    For children who do not eat fish at least two times a week, parents can find supplements and fortifi
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    SOURCE DSM Nutritional Products
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