Ageing is inevitable and it affects all the parts of human body. Even the brain is not immune to it. However, in some people the effects of mental ageing are found to be more accelerated than others. Doctors recommend brain stimulating activities like reading books and playing crossword puzzles to keep brain muscles in shape. However, what you eat in old age also has an effect on cognitive decline. A new study finding indicates consuming fish oil can be good to fight dementia. However, it cannot reverse memory loss in people.
The study was led by Brown University’s Lori A. Daiello who works in Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s disease and Memory Disorders Center as a scientist. The research team observed over 800 adults who were aged between 55 to 90 years. They were a mixed batch, with some normal, a section had mild cognitive decline and rest had Alzheimer’s disease. The candidates were assessed by means of brain magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological tests. They took either fish oil or fish oil supplements.
The researchers found taking fish oil did not bring any benefit to those candidates who already had Alzheimer’s disease. However, those who did not have any trace of cognitive decline at beginning of the study fared better than others. Those who took fish oil suffered less from brain tissue loss. Incidentally, advantages of taking fish oil were observed only in participants who lacked APOE-4, namely genetic risk factor for dementia.
Dr. Daiello said, "At least one person is diagnosed every minute with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and despite best efforts, we have not yet found a cure for this pervasive and debilitating disease. The field is currently engaged in numerous studies to find better treatments for people suffering with AD; however, researching ways to prevent AD or slow cognitive decline in normal aging is of utmost importance." The study findings are available in Alzheimer’s and Dementia online.
As a matter of fact, omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil has numerous health benefits and doctors recommend it for improving cardiovascular health. However, the study also showed people with APOE-4 marker were unaffected by fish oil. This may be owing to their inability to metabolize DHA, think the researchers. However, they think it is not right to dismiss fish oil for this lot. The authors say, “Adequate levels of long-chain fatty acids before or during middle age might mitigate early neurodegenerative processes in at-risk individuals.”