Prenatal DHA may improve attention at 5 years of age


Attention allows: alert to the existence of stimuli, select information and maintaining attention in the face of distracting stimuli. Attention is selective. The factors that promote selection can be described as either exogenous (external) or endogenous (internal): exogenous factors are the characteristics of the stimuli (such as its frequency and duration, for auditory stimuli, and intensity and brightness for visual stimuli); endogenous factors are those cognitive processes that allow the organism to voluntarily control the locus of its attention. In early life, the target of attention is largely determined by the physical properties of a stimulus but over the course of development, endogenous factors will play a larger role in the locus of attention.

Attention problems are common among preschool children (by the age of 4 years, 40% of children have sufficient problems with attention to be of concern to parents and preschool teachers): inattention is normal in preschool child development. However, the ability to selectively sustain attention will be essential in processes such as categorization, language comprehension, reasoning, and problem solving.

Prenatal DHA (which is an important constituent of the brain) supplementation may contribute to improved sustained attention in preschool children.