More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Dietary Fatty Acids May Reduce Risk of Cognitive Decline CME
January 30, 2004
Laurie Barclay, MD

Dietary fatty acids may be related to cognitive performance, according to the results of a cross-sectional survey published in the January issue of Neurology.

"The most consistent findings from epidemiologic and clinical studies so far seem to be that cholesterol and [saturated] fat are positively and fish and marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) inversely associated with dementia and cognitive impairment," write S. Kalmijn, MD, PhD, from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues. "This association may be attributable to several mechanisms, such as an anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 PUFA, a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, or an increase in the neuroplasticity of nerve membranes."

From 1995 until 2000, a total of 1,613 subjects from a cross-sectional population-based sample completed an extensive cognitive battery and a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire assessing habitual food consumption. Age range was 45 to 70 years. Logistic regression determined the risk of impaired cognitive performance, defined as the lowest 10% of the compound score on the cognitive battery, as a function of energy-adjusted intake of fatty acids, after adjustment for age, sex, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, and energy intake.

Dietary intake of marine omega-3 PUFA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) was inversely related to the risk of impaired overall cognitive function and speed (per standard deviation [SD] increase: odds ratio [OR], 0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 - 1.00; and OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.57 - 0.90, respectively). Dietary intake of fatty fish was also inversely related to cognitive impairment.

On the other hand, higher dietary intake of cholesterol was directly related to increased risk of impaired memory and flexibility (per SD increase: OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.02 - 1.57; and OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.01 - 1.57, respectively). There was also a nonsignificant trend for increased risk of impaired memory, speed, and flexibility per SD increase in saturated fat intake.

Potential study limitations include measurement error, cross-sectional sample, lower reliability of dietary data collected from subjects who are cognitively impaired or demented, possible information bias, lack of information on plasma levels of fatty acids, and inability to examine modification by the apolipoprotein E gene.

"Fatty fish and marine omega-3 PUFA consumption was associated with a reduced risk and intake of cholesterol and saturated fat with an increased risk of impaired cognitive function in this middle-aged population," the authors write. "Marine omega-3 PUFA may affect speed and cognition through inflammation, because they act as anti-inflammatory agents by inhibiting the synthesis of cytokines and mitogens. Further hypotheses on the effect of marine omega-3 PUFA concern membrane fluidity, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity."

Neurology, 2004;62:275-280

(although on a much smaller scale) - The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) likes to do psychology television programmes, ranging from senses to life long studies from birth (this one is still going on, and every year we have an update). (Actually.. it might have been this programme...)
The gave young children omega 3 with out telling them what it was for, the control group received plasebo's and their attention increased too.
I took them while i was studying for my exams last year, and although i didn't notice a difference, (well... i haven't ever studied before - i hated school - so i wouldn't know) its nice to know that the idea has been backed up.

As you can tell from my spelling - I'm not taking them, currently ;)
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