Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

King, Sondra L.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Home Economics


Choline; Memory; Lecithin


This study was designed to investigate the effect of dietary phosphatidylcholine on short term memory and serum choline levels in human and rat subjects. Eight male and twelve female humans subjects, and seven male and eight female rat subjects were involved in this study. The subjects, both humans and rats, were randomly separated into two groups. One week group A received phosphatidylcholine supplementation (0.036 grams phosphatidylcholine per kg body weight) and group B received the placebo made isocaloric with corn oil. The following week, group B received the lecithin and group A had the placebo treatment. Three and one half hours after administration of the treatment, the short term memory of the subjects was tested. This was done by administering free recall word tests to human subjects and observing the rats in an eight arm radial maze. After this memory test was completed, a single sample of blood was drawn from each of the subjects and the serum was analyzed for choline content. The data obtained from the analysis showed a significant serum choline increase in the human and rat subjects that received the lecithin administration as compared to the subjects receiving the placebo. There was also a significant increase in short term memory in the subjects administered phosphatidylcholine as compared to the same subjects receiving the placebo. The results of this experiment showed that dietary phosphatidylcholine can significantly increase serum choline concentrations in rat and normal human subjects. The results also indicated that lecithin supplementation may be responsible for enhancement of short term memory.


Bibliography: pages 62-67.


viii, 76 pages




Northern Illinois University

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