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Dietary Fatty Acids and Cholesterol in Normal Brain Development

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Theories of the ontogeny of brain growth and its nutritional and environmental modulation are reviewed. Based on research in animal models and humans, the growth, structure, and function of the brain appear to be positively linked to specific fatty acids, all constituents of breast milk. Cholesterol, also present in breast milk and a major component of myelin, is critical in neural development and in the role of glial cells in synaptogenesis. Evidence indicates that dietary cholesterol may cross the blood-brain barrier or impact a mechanism that increases brain cholesterol accretion and cognitive development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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