Age-dependent increase of peroxidation of membrane fatty acids such as arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in neurons was reported to cause a decline of the hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and cognitive dysfunction in rodents.
Although supplementation of ARA and DHA can improve LTP and cognitive function in rodents, their effects in humans are unknown.

The present work was undertaken to study whether ARA and DHA have beneficial effects in human amnesic patients. The subjects were 21 mild cognitive dysfunction (12 MCI-A with supplementation and 9 MIC-P with placebo), 10 organic brain lesions (organic), and 8 Alzheimer's disease (AD). The cognitive functions were evaluated using Japanese version of repeatable battery for assessment of neuropsychological status (RBANS) at two time points: before and 90 days after the supplementation of 240 mg/day ARA and DHA, or 240 mg/day of olive oil, respectively.

MCI-A group showed a significant improvement of the immediate memory and attention score. In addition, organic group showed a significant improvement of immediate and delayed memories. However, there were no significant improvements of each score in AD and MCI-P groups.

It is suggested from these data that ARA and DHA supplementation can improve the cognitive dysfunction due to organic brain damages or aging.