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We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCT) of increased intake of arachidonic acid (ARA) on fatty acid status and health outcomes in humans. We identified twenty-two articles from fourteen RCT. Most studies were conducted in adults. These used between 80 and 2000 mg ARA per d and were of 1–12 weeks duration. Supplementation with ARA doses as low as 80 mg/d increased the content of ARA in different blood fractions. Overall there seem to be few marked benefits for adults of increasing ARA intake from the typical usual intake of 100–200 mg/d to as much as 1000 mg/d; the few studies using higher doses (1500 or 2000 mg/d) also report little benefit. However, there may be an impact of ARA on cognitive and muscle function which could be particularly relevant in the ageing population. The studies reviewed here suggest no adverse effects in adults of increased ARA intake up to at least 1000–1500 mg/d on blood lipids, platelet aggregation and blood clotting, immune function, inflammation or urinary excretion of ARA metabolites. However, in many areas there are insufficient studies to make firm conclusions, and higher intakes of ARA are deserving of further study. Based on the RCT reviewed, there are not enough data to make any recommendations for specific health effects of ARA intake.
EPA and DHA appear to be the most important n-3 fatty acids, but roles for n-3 docosapentaenoic acid are now also emerging. Intakes of EPA and DHA are usually low, typically below those recommended. Increased intakes result in higher concentrations of EPA and DHA in blood lipids, cells and tissues. Increased content of EPA and DHA modifies the structure of cell membranes and the function of membrane proteins. EPA and DHA modulate the production of lipid mediators and through effects on cell signalling can alter the patterns of gene expression. Through these mechanisms, EPA and DHA alter cell and tissue responsiveness in a way that often results in more optimal conditions for growth, development and maintenance of health. DHA has vital roles in brain and eye development and function. EPA and DHA have a wide range of physiological roles, which are linked to certain health or clinical benefits, particularly related to CVD, cancer, inflammation and neurocognitive function. The benefits of EPA and DHA are evident throughout the life course. Future research will include better identification of the determinants of variation of responses to increased intake of EPA and DHA; more in-depth dose–response studies of the effects of EPA and DHA; clearer identification of the specific roles of EPA, docosapentaenoic acid and DHA; testing strategies to enhance delivery of n-3 fatty acids to the bloodstream; and exploration of sustainable alternatives to fish-derived very long-chain n-3 fatty acids.
The recognition of ‘fetal origins of adult disease’ has placed new responsibilities on the obstetrician, as antenatal care is no longer simply about ensuring good perinatal outcomes, but also needs to plan for optimal long-term health for mother and baby. Recently, it has become clear that the intrauterine environment has a broad and long-lasting impact, influencing fetal and childhood growth and development as well as future cardiovascular health, non-communicable disease risk and fertility. This article looks specifically at the importance of the developmental origins of ovarian reserve and ageing, the role of the placenta and maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy. It also reviews recent insights in developmental medicine of relevance to the obstetrician, and outlines emerging evidence supporting a proactive clinical approach to optimizing periconceptional as well as antenatal care aimed to protect newborns against long-term disease susceptibility.
Studies have suggested that maternal PUFA status during pregnancy may influence early childhood allergic diseases, although findings are inconsistent. We examined the relationship between maternal PUFA status and risk of allergic diseases in early childhood in an Asian cohort. Maternal plasma samples from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes mother–offspring cohort were assayed at 26–28 weeks of gestation for relative abundance of PUFA. Offspring (n 960) were followed up from 3 weeks to 18 months of age, and clinical outcomes of potential allergic diseases (rhinitis, eczema and wheezing) were assessed by repeated questionnaires. Skin prick testing (SPT) was also performed at the age of 18 months. Any allergic disease with positive SPT was defined as having any one of the clinical outcomes plus a positive SPT. The prevalence of a positive SPT, rhinitis, eczema, wheezing and any allergic disease with positive SPT was 14·1 % (103/728), 26·5 % (214/808), 17·6 % (147/833), 10·9 % (94/859) and 9·4 % (62/657), respectively. After adjustment for confounders, maternal total n-3, n-6 PUFA status and the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were not significantly associated with offspring rhinitis, eczema, wheezing, a positive SPT and having any allergic disease with positive SPT in the offspring (P>0·01 for all). A weak trend of higher maternal n-3 PUFA being associated with higher risk of allergic diseases with positive SPT in offspring was observed. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the risk of early childhood allergic diseases is modified by variation in maternal n-3 and n-6 PUFA status during pregnancy in an Asian population.
Here we present an alternative approach to coarse graining, based on the multiresolution diffusion-wavelet approach to operator compression, which does not require explicit atomistic-to-coarse-grained mappings. Our diffusion-wavelet method takes as input the topology and sparsity of the molecular bonding structure of a system, and returns as output a hierarchical set of degrees of freedom (DoFs) of system-specific coarse-grained variables. Importantly, the hierarchical compression provides a clear framework for modeling at many model scales (levels), beyond the common two-level CG representation. Our results show that the resulting hierarchy separates localized modes, such as a single C-C vibrational mode, from larger-scale motions, e.g., long-range concerted backbone vibrational modes. Our approach correctly captures small-scale chemical features, such as cellulose ring structures, and alkane side chains or CH2 units, as well as large-scale features of the backbone. In particular, the new method’s finest-scale modes describe DoFs similar to united atom models and other chemically-defined CG models. Modes at coarser levels describe increasingly large connected portions of the target polymers. For polyethylene and polystyrene, spatial coordinates and their associated forces were compressed by up to two orders of magnitude. The compression in forces is of particular interest as this allows larger timesteps as well as reducing the number of DoFs.
The aim of the present study was to determine whether age and sex influence both the status and incorporation of EPA and DHA into blood plasma, cells and tissues. The study was a double-blind, randomised, controlled intervention trial, providing EPA plus DHA equivalent to 0, 1, 2 or 4 portions of oily fish per week for 12 months. The participants were stratified by age and sex. A linear regression model was used to analyse baseline outcomes, with covariates for age or sex groups and by adjusting for BMI. The change in outcomes from baseline to 12 months was analysed with additional adjustment for treatment and average compliance. Fatty acid profiles in plasma phosphatidylcholine, cholesteryl esters, NEFA and TAG, mononuclear cells (MNC), erythrocyte membranes, platelets, buccal cells (BU) and adipose tissue (AT) were determined. At baseline, EPA concentrations in plasma NEFA and DHA concentrations in MNC, BU and AT were higher in females than in males (all P< 0·05). The concentrations of EPA in AT (P= 0·003) and those of DHA in plasma TAG (P< 0·01) and AT (P< 0·001) were higher with increasing age. Following 12-month supplementation with EPA plus DHA, adjusted mean difference for change in EPA concentrations in plasma TAG was significantly higher in females than in males (P< 0·05) and was greater with increasing age (P= 0·02). Adjusted mean difference for change in DHA concentrations in AT was significantly smaller with increasing age (P= 0·02). Although small differences in incorporation with age and sex were identified, these were not of sufficient magnitude to warrant a move away from population-level diet recommendations for n-3 PUFA.
Lindquist et al. assess the neural evidence for locationist versus psychological construction accounts of human emotion. A wealth of experimental and clinical investigations show that individual differences in emotion and personality influence emotion processing. These factors may also influence the brain's response to emotional stimuli. A synthesis of the relevant neuroimaging data must therefore take these factors into consideration.