Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Study links brain fatty acid levels to depression
This article was very clear to me when I bookmarked it for the Daily Pick. Then I read it again, and now I don't understand it anymore. Any insight would be welcomed...
Bethesda, MD – A group of researchers from Israel has discovered that rats exhibiting the signs of depression have increased levels of the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, in their brains. The details of their findings appear in the June issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, an American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology journal.
During recent years, omega-3 fatty acids have enjoyed increased popularity as numerous studies have shown that supplementing diets with fish oil (a natural source of this polyunsaturated fatty acid) does everything from reducing the risk of heart disease to preventing arthritis. There is also evidence that depression may be associated with a dietary deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. This "phospholipid hypothesis" of depression has been supported by research showing that omega-3 fatty acid concentration in the blood of depressed patients is lower than that in control patients.
"The "phospholipid hypothesis" of depression postulates that decreased omega-3 fatty acid intake, and hence, perhaps decreased brain omega-3 fatty acid content, could be responsible for the disease," explains Dr. Pnina Green of Tel Aviv University. "In humans, because of high dietary variability and the obvious inability to examine brain tissue, the theory is backed up mainly by indirect evidence. The availability of the Flinders Sensitive Line rat, an animal model of depression, overcomes both these obstacles."From our friends at EurekAlert