sealPurdue News

March 21, 2003

Researcher to discuss mental health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Emerging from depression may be just a plate of fish away.

Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, a researcher at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies the role of omega-3 essential fatty acids in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders. He will discuss his research at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (3/26) at Purdue University in Lynn Hall, Room 1136.

The lecture, which is free and open to the pubic, is part of the 2003 Food Science Colloquium Series, sponsored by Purdue's Center for Enhancing Food to Protect Health.

Hibbeln, chief of outpatient research in the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, and his colleagues have found that greater consumption of seafood or omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower occurrences of psychiatric disorders related to depressive or impulsive behaviors. Recent studies have found that the children of women with dietary deficiencies of omega-3 essential fatty acids during pregnancy are at greater risk of adverse behaviors at age 7. These behaviors include conduct disorders, hyperactivity, poor peer interactions, and lower verbal and performance IQ scores.

Researchers in the Center for Enhancing Foods to Protect Health also are studying the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the research projects include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid insufficiency in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

  • Enriching feed given to farm fish with omega-3 fatty acids to improve human health.

  • Studies with industry on ways to enrich omega-3 fatty acids in fluid milk and dairy products.

  • The impact of omega-3 fatty acids on bone modeling and remodeling processes and diseases of the skeletal system, such as osteoporosis.

  • The effects of omega-3 fatty on gene expression to improve healing of ligaments.

    Writer: Barney T. Haney (765) 494-8402,

    Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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