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Nutrition

Eating fish regularly delays dementia: study

15 years ago

2981  0
Posted on Oct 13, 2005, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Eating fish at least once a week slows the toll aging takes on the brain, while obesity at midlife doubles the risk of dementia, a pair of studies concluded on Monday.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Eating fish at least once a week slows the toll aging takes on the brain, while obesity at midlife doubles the risk of dementia, a pair of studies concluded on Monday.

Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish have been shown to boost brain functioning as well as cutting the risk of stroke, and eating fish regularly appears to protect the brain as people age, the six-year study of Chicago residents said.

"The rate of (mental) decline was reduced by 10 percent to 13 percent per year among persons who consumed one or more fish meals per week compared with those with less than weekly consumption," wrote Martha Clare Morris of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"The rate reduction is the equivalent of being three to four years younger in age," she added in the report published online by the Archives of Neurology.

The protective effect from eating fish was evident even after researchers adjusted for consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia are growing problems around the world, particularly in developed countries with aging populations.

In another study published in the same journal, Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concluded that obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels at midlife each doubled the risk of dementia later in life.

Subjects who suffered from all three of the health problems at midlife multiplied their risk of developing dementia six times compared to people free of the risk factors, she said.

Nearly 1,500 subjects who have been part of a study that began in 1972 were reexamined. The 16 percent who were obese at midlife were at double the risk of dementia compared to the one-quarter of those with normal weight at midlife and the half who had been slightly overweight.

"Midlife obesity, high systolic blood pressure, and high total cholesterol were all significant risk factors for dementia, each of them increasing the risk around two times," study author Miia Kivipelto wrote.


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