The impact of dietary fat intake on cognitive function has generated growing interest as the incidence of neurodegenerative disorders continues to increase. No known cures for neurodegenerative disorders exist at this time and available pharmacological treatments are limited in their efficacy. As such, prevention and early detection have been emphasized, particularly in the context of modifiable lifestyle factors, such as diet. Despite a recognized association between dietary fat intake and cognition, limited research exists delineating the impact of different types of fat on cognitive function. In this review, research examining the association between cognition and specific dietary fatty acids—such as trans fatty acids (TFA), saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)—was investigated. Further, the mechanisms by which these fatty acids impact cognition were explored. Findings from the literature identified cardiovascular function, inflammation, oxidative stress, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and insulin resistance as the most explored biological mechanisms to date. As such, each biological mechanism is briefly defined and considered in the context of a neuropsychological profile, followed by a review of the influence of fatty acids on these mechanisms.
School of Behavioral Health
Grace J. Lee
Kelly R. Morton
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Cognitive decline; Fatty acids--Health aspects
viii, 50 p.
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Kdeiss, Bianca, "Dietary Fatty Acids and the Brain: Mechanisms Behind Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection" (2022). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1599.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives