Connection between the Linoleic Acid and Psychopathology: A Symmetry-Breaking Phenomenon in the Brain?

Author(s): Massimo Cocchi, Chiara Minuto, Lucio Tonello, Jack A. Tuszynski


Schematic of the structural differences between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
Schematic of the structural differences between saturated
and unsaturated fatty acids.

In this paper we discuss the role of the fatty acid composition of brain cells and in platelets in the emergence of psychiatric disorders such as major depression and the bipolar disorder. We argue that the linoleic acid concentration plays the role of a control parameter and there is a critical value of the linoleic acid concentration that determines a transition from healthy mental state to a pathological state. We draw an analogy with symmetry breaking in physical systems where at a bifurcation point on the phase diagram, infinitesimal perturbations to the state of the system result in a transition to a new global attractor state. This is in contrast to the situation away from the critical point where cause and effect are usually found in a linear or almost linear relationship. This observation may have major implications for both diagnostics and therapeutics of mental disorders when viewed as triggered by molecular causes.


Journal: Open Journal of Depression
DOI: 10.4236/ojd.2015.44005 (PDF)
Paper Id: 60860 (metadata)

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