Eating Fish, Nuts for Omega-3 May Not Help Improve
Thinking Skills Older Women After All
Unfortunately study did not find a protective effect
in older women; most randomized trials of omega-3 supplements have not
found an effect,
Sept. 25, 2013 - Contrary to earlier studies, new
research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may not benefit thinking
skills. The study is published in the September 25, 2013, online issue
of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of
Neurology. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish such as salmon and in nuts.
"There has been a lot of interest in omega-3s as a
way to prevent or delay cognitive decline, but unfortunately our study
did not find a protective effect in older women. In addition, most
randomized trials of omega-3 supplements have not found an effect," said
study author Eric Ammann, MS, of the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
"However, we do not recommend that people change
their diet based on these results. Researchers continue to study the
relationship between omega-3s and the health of the heart, blood
vessels, and brain. We know that fish and nuts can be healthy
alternatives to red meat and full-fat dairy products, which are high in
The study involved 2,157 women age 65 to 80 who
were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative clinical trials of
hormone therapy. The women were given annual tests of thinking and
memory skills for an average of six years. Blood tests were taken to
measure the amount of omega-3s in the participants' blood before the
start of the study.
The researchers found no difference between the
women with high and low levels of omega-3s in the blood at the time of
the first memory tests. There was also no difference between the two
groups in how fast their thinking skills declined over time.
The study was supported by the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, and U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association
of more than 26,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is
dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic
care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing,
treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as
Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury,
Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.
For more information about the American Academy of
http://www.aan.com or find it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and
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