Omega-3 may help prevent Alzheimer's disease
This paper and several similar studies were epublished ahead of print. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) has been the focus of major media networks such as CNN, BBC, CTV, NBC and ABC, as well as global medical and scientific societies.
The incidence of AD is expected to triple in the coming decades. There is no known cure. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-amyloid, anti-tau and anti-inflammatory activity in the brains of animals. These activities are associated with AD. This study looked at the interrelationships between omega-3 fatty acids, blood flow in the brain and cognition.
- Random sampling of 166 adults with normal cognitive functions (no dementia) in the USA.
- Brain SPECT Imaging measured blood flow in the brain while participants performed various cognitive tasks: motor coordination, reaction time, sustained attention, controlled attention, mental flexibility, inhibition, working memory, recall memory and executive function.
- Assessment of feelings of depression, anxiety and emotional resilience was measured by computerized testing.
LIMITS OF THIS STUDY
- The authors are not able to show causality or determine the mechanism by which omega-3’s influenced blood flow to the brain.
WHAT WAS ALREADY KNOWN
- Omega-3s contribute to the structural integrity of brain and nerve cells, control inflammation and oxidation, and promote energy metabolism.
- Omega-3s have been linked to preventing age-related decline of cognitive function including fluid intelligence (the ability to solve new problems, use logic and identify patterns).
WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS
- Demonstrated the value of nutritional intervention for brain health using SPECT imaging in a randomized trial.
- Showed a statistically significant correlation between higher omega-3 levels and blood flow in areas involved in memory (Blue and Green) and neurocognition/learning (Blue).
- Showed a positive correlation between higher omega-3 levels and physiological feelings and emotions (Green).
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Daniel, D.G., Harris, W.S., Kidd, P.M., Meysami, S. and Raji, C.A. (2017) J Alzheimer’s Disease, May 2017 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-17028. Hot Topic Small Talk – Volume 2, Number 6