Demonstrates Ability To Improve Cognitive Functioning, Memory and Health Of The Brain
Research Scientists Studied Supplementation With Omega 3-Rich Fish Oil Capsules…
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center have found crucial positive associations between Omega 3 fish oil supplements and cognitive functioning as well as differences in brain structure between users and non-users of fish oil supplements.
The findings suggest possible benefits of fish oil supplements on brain health and aging.
The results were reported at the recent International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, in Paris, France.
The study was conducted by research scientists at the Rhode Island Hospital Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center. Data for the analyses was obtained from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a large multi-center, NIH-funded study that followed older adults with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s Disease for over three years with periodic memory testing and brain MRIs.
The study included 819 individuals, 117 of whom reported regular use of Omega 3 fish oil supplements before entry and during study follow-up. The researchers compared cognitive functioning and brain atrophy for patients who reported regularly using these supplements to those who were not using fish oil supplements.
Compared to non-users, use of fish oil supplements was associated with better cognitive functioning during the study. However, this association was significant only in those individuals who had a normal baseline cognitive function and in individuals who tested negative for a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease known as “APOE4” consistent with previous research.
The key finding is that there was a clear association between fish oil supplements and brain volume. Consistent with the cognitive outcomes, these observations were significant only for those who were “APOE4” negative.
The researchers report “In the imaging analyses for the entire study population, we found a significant positive association between fish oil supplement use and average brain volumes in two critical areas utilized in memory and thinking (cerebral cortex and hippo-campus), as well as smaller brain ventricular volumes compared to non-users at any given time in the study. In other words, fish oil use was associated with less brain shrinkage in patients taking these supplements during the ADNI study compared to those who didn’t report using them.”
The researchers conclude, “These observations should motivate further study of the possible effects of long-term fish oil supplementation on important markers of cognitive decline and the potential influence of genetics on these outcomes.”
The team included researchers from The Miriam Hospital and the Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Gonvatana and Cohen), and Department of Behavior and Social Sciences (Dunsiger).
Rhode Island Hospital, a member hospital of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island
Lifespan (2011, August 17). Fish oil’s impact on cognition and brain structure identified in new study.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult with your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutrition advice.