My mother is 85 and suffers from mild non-Alzheimers dementia — a series of ministrokes during a period of uncontrolled high blood pressure apparently did some damage in widely-scattered areas of her brain.
Her deficits aren’t too noticeable in normal conversation — her personality is still sparkly and she remembers most events of the distant past. Short-term memory is spotty, and she can no longer recognize shapes immediately, requiring more time to understand what an image is. So while she can read, it is very slow in comparison to when she was a terrific secretary, taking shorthand and typing at a fast clip. Now she cannot dial the phone because the system cuts her off before she has time to dial a long-distance number.
I take fish oil capsules as one way to protect myself from heart disease, and a new study reviewed in Science Daily appears to show regular dosing can hold back some of the deterioration of brain tissue that leads to dementia (though for those with a gene promoting Alzheimers-type dementia, it did nothing.)
Rhode Island Hospital researchers have completed a study that found regular use of fish oil supplements (FOS) was associated with a significant reduction in cognitive decline and brain atrophy in older adults. The study examined the relationship between FOS use during the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and indicators of cognitive decline. The findings are published online in advance of print in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
“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,” said principal investigator Lori Daiello, PharmD, of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Rhode Island Hospital. “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.”
In this retrospective study, older adults involved in the ADNI study were assessed with neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) every six months. The group included 229 older adults who were cognitively normal; 397 who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment; and 193 with AD.
The study found that fish oil supplement use during the study was associated with significantly lower rates of cognitive decline as measured by the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), and the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), but this benefit was observed only for the group of participants without dementia at the time of enrollment.
“Additionally, serial brain imaging conducted during this study showed that the participants with normal cognition who reported taking fish oil supplements demonstrated less brain shrinkage in key neurological areas, compared to those who did not use the supplements,” Daiello said. “Also, the positive findings on cognitive testing and brain MRI were only observed in persons who did not carry the best-studied genetic risk factor for AD, APOE-4.”
Source: Lori A. Daiello, Assawin Gongvatana, Shira Dunsiger, Ronald A. Cohen, Brian R. Ott. Association of fish oil supplement use with preservation of brain volume and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.02.005
For more on good supplements and life-extending habits:
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Low-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pancreatic Cancer
Daily Aspirin Regimen Reduces Cancer Rates
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Lower Back Pain: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) Useless
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Scams: Multi-Level Marketing, Herbalife
Vitamin D: Anti-Dementia?
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy