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Title: An investigation into long-chain polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, event related potential assessments of brain function and behavioural measures in children and adolescents with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Author: Gow, Rachel
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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This PhD research project investigated differences in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) between male adolescents with and without ADHD, and the relationship between these and performance and event related potential (ERP) assessments of brain function and clinical behavioural measures. ERPs were also investigated in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 12 weeks PUFA supplementation in ADHD. Comparison of LC-PUFA measures between two groups of ADHD showed no differences in the first group, but in the second group, omega-3/6 indices were lower in ADHD compared to controls. No relationships were observed between LC-PUFA and clinical behaviour measures except between specific omega-3 indices which were inversely related to callous and unemotional traits in the ADHD group only, suggesting a specific relationship with socio-emotional behaviour. Despite performance differences there were no ERP differences between ADHD and controls during the sustained attention task and specific P3 reduction in ADHD for the Go process of the Go/NoGo task. The performance was correlated with LC-PUFA in controls only. Associations were observed between reduced P3 and LC-PUFA in both groups, possibly suggesting enhanced neuronal efficiency. For the emotion processing task, patients showed reduced N2 and N4 amplitudes relative to controls. Omega-3 was associated with more normal N4 function in ADHD for happy faces. The 12 week supplementation trial demonstrated only enhanced P2 to happy faces in the active group relative to placebo at follow up. Overall, the findings demonstrate reduced PUFA blood levels in some groups of ADHD children but limited and very specific associations between fatty acids, clinical measures and brain function in ADHD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available