Omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive outcomes in soldiers deployed to combat areas.

dc.contributor.authorHanson, Jennifer Ann
dc.description.abstractPsychological problems and human error are leading causes of death and disability among military service members. Strategies to improve the psychological health and cognitive performance of those in the military are much needed. Recent advances in neuroscience suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may play an important role in the psychological well-being of those in the military. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between omega-3 status and psychological outcome variables among soldiers deploying to combat. Data collection was preceded by the development and reliability testing of a novel food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) designed to capture intake from contemporary sources of omega-3 fatty acids including functional foods and supplements. Based on the instrument assessment study (Chapter 2) conducted among university students (n = 165), this FFQ appears to be a comprehensive and reliable (n = 54, ρ = 0.86, p < 0.001) instrument for measuring docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) intakes in young adults. As described in Chapter 3, intake of EPA + DHA as estimated by the FFQ was positively correlated (r = 0.39, p < 0.001) with biomarker measurements of omega-3 status. Primary data were obtained from a volunteer sample of soldiers (n = 272) scheduled for deployment to Iraq. Preliminarily analyses revealed relationships between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) screening scores and psychological outcome variables (Chapter 4). Primary analyses (Chapter 5) indicated intake of EPA + DHA was not significantly correlated with mood, nor were omega-3 exposure variables correlated with cognitive performance based on the required p value (< 0.001) calculated using the Bonferroni correction for multiple tests. Among participants with EPA + DHA intakes at or below the median, omega-3 HUFA was related (p < 0.002) to happiness (β = -0.46), depression (β = 0.44), and fatigue (β = 0.43). Although exploratory in nature, the results of this study suggest a relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and mood. Given the current concerns regarding the psychological health of those in the military, additional research is warranted.en_US
dc.description.advisorMark D. Hauben_US
dc.description.advisorMark D. Hauben_US
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen_US
dc.description.departmentDepartment of Human Nutritionen_US
dc.description.sponsorshipHerbert D. and Nylda Gemple Research Award from the American Dietetic Association Foundation, the Kansas State University Research Foundation Fellowship Award, the University of Nebraska Impact of Sustagrain Barley Grant, and NutriJoy, Inc.en_US
dc.publisherKansas State Universityen
dc.subjectOmega-3 fatty acidsen_US
dc.subjectPosttraumatic stress disorderen_US
dc.subjectMilitary healthen_US
dc.subjectDocosahexaenoic aciden_US
dc.subjectEicosapentaenoic aciden_US
dc.subject.umiNutrition (0570)en_US
dc.titleOmega-3 fatty acids and cognitive outcomes in soldiers deployed to combat areas.en_US


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