Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Are Associated With Behavior But Not With Cognition in Children With and Without ADHD: An Italian study

Alessandro Crippa, Carlo Agostoni, Maddalena Mauri, Massimo Molteni, Maria Nobile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: This study aimed to investigate the relationship between polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) status, cognitive, and behavioral traits of ADHD in school-aged children. Method: Seventy-three children with and without ADHD were assessed with cognitive tasks and behavioral rating scales including quality of life and global functioning at baseline of an intervention trial (clinicaltrials.gov NCT01796262). Correlation analyses were performed between the cognitive tasks/behavioral ratings and blood PUFA levels. Results: Children with ADHD had lower levels of DHA, omega-3 index, and total PUFA. PUFAs were positively associated with behavior but not consistently related to cognitive domains. Conclusion: The present study confirms that children with ADHD display abnormal fatty acid profiles within an Italian setting. Furthermore, PUFAs were associated with behavior but not with cognition. Accordingly, for the first time, lower blood levels of PUFA were associated not only with symptoms of ADHD but also with a poorer quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-983
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018



  • ADHD
  • behavior
  • cognition
  • fatty acids
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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