Dietary fatty acids and the aging brain

Authors

  • Greg M Cole,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Medicine and Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, VA Medical Center, North Hills, California, USA
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  • Qiu-Lan Ma,

    1. Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, VA Medical Center, North Hills, California, USA
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  • Sally A Frautschy

    1. Departments of Medicine and Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, VA Medical Center, North Hills, California, USA
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GM Cole, GRECC Veterans Affairs, Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Research-151, Bldg 7, Rm A101, 16111 Plummer Street, North Hills, CA 91343, USA. E-mail: gmcole@ucla.edu, Phone: +1-818-891-7711, ext 9949, Fax: +1-818-895-5835.

Abstract

Aging contributes to physiological decline and vulnerability to disease. In the brain, even with minimal neuronal loss, aging increases oxidative damage, inflammation, demyelination, impaired processing, and metabolic deficits, particularly during pathological brain aging. In this review, the possible role of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the prevention of age-related disruption of brain function is discussed. High-fat diabetogenic diets, cholesterol, and the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonate and its prostaglandin metabolites have all been implicated in promoting the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Evidence presented here shows DHA acts to oppose this, exerting a plethora of pleiotropic activities to protect against the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

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