Posted on Nov 13, 2013, 6 a.m.
High omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the blood are protective against brain infarcts and other abnormalities.
Previously, researchers observed that people who consume broiled or baked fish, as compared to fried fish, have fewer subclinical brain abnormalities. Jyrki Virtanen, from the University of Eastern Finland (Finland), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 3660 men and women, ages 65 and up, enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Subjects underwent brain scans to detect silent brain infarcts, with scans performed again five years later on 2313 of the participants. The study found that those who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood were at about 40% lower risk of having small brain infarcts, as compared to those with low content of these fatty acids in blood. The study also found that people who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood also had fewer changes in the white matter in their brains. Observing that: "Among older adults, higher phospholipid long-chain omega-3 [fatty acid] content was associated with lower prevalence of subclinical infarcts and better white matter grade on [magnetic resonance imaging]," the study authors submit that: "our results support the beneficial effects of fish consumption ... On brain health in later life."
Virtanen JK, Siscovick DS, Lemaitre RN, Longstreth WT, Spiegelman D, Rimm EB, King IB, Mozaffarian D. "
Circulating omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and subclinical brain abnormalities on MRI in older adults: the cardiovascular health study." J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Oct 10;2(5):e000305.