Omega-3s May Cut Alzheimer's Risk
Can fatty acids really ward off Alzheimer's? Quite possibly, according to a new study just released online in the journal Neurology. Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD of Columbia University in New York City and colleagues compared the levels of the amyloid protein that is linked to cognitive decline in participants who had a lot of omega-3s in their diets with those who didn't. The researchers used data from the Washington Heights/Hamilton Heights Columbia Aging Project in New York City.
The researchers' conclusion, as reported by MedPage Today, was that in cognitively normal individuals over 65 "increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids was significantly associated with lower plasma levels of beta-amyloid protein 42."
However, Scarmeas and colleagues noted some limitations to the study, including its cross-sectional design and its reliance on a single measurement of plasma AB40 and AB42 levels, which MedPage Today says they characterized as "a moving target" during development of cognitive decline. Also, the researchers used participants' self-reports on diet and examined only 10 of many nutrients contained in food.
Even so, why not hedge your bets and have fish for dinner a few times a week and/or pop some fish oil tablets? That can't hurt, and it may keep you mentally fit!