Association between fatty acids profile and cerebral blood flow: An exploratory fNIRS study on children with and without ADHD

Silvia Grazioli, Alessandro Crippa, Maddalena Mauri, Caterina Piazza, Andrea Bacchetta, Antonio Salandi, Sara Trabattoni, Carlo Agostoni, Massimo Molteni, Maria Nobile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) biostatus has been proposed as possible attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis biomarker. The present exploratory study aimed to investigate the association between PUFAs biostatus and cerebral cortex metabolism measured by functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in a sample of children with and without ADHD. 24 children with ADHD and 22 typically developing (TD) peers, aged 8–14, were recruited. Linoleic, arachidonic, docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids levels were evaluated in whole blood. All children underwent fNIRS while performing an n-back working memory task. Between groups comparisons revealed lower levels of arachidonic acid in children with ADHD and stronger NIRS signal in TD participants, especially when completing more difficult tasks. Correlations conducted between fNIRS activation and PUFA biostatus revealed several associations between hemodynamic changes in the frontoparietal regions and fatty acids profile across participants. This result was also confirmed by the multiple hierarchical regression analyses that remarked an inverse effect of eicosapentaenoic acid levels on oxyhemoglobin values in right frontoparietal region. Such preliminary findings, if confirmed, would suggest that PUFAs could play a role in atypical neurodevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2414
Number of pages15
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019


  • ADHD
  • Attention
  • Biomarker
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • NIRS
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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