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Could fish oil supplements combat dementia?

Could fish oil supplements combat dementia?
21st July 2014

Taking fish oil supplements could help to combat dementia, according to new research.

A study published in the journal of the Alzheimer's Association analysed adults with the degenerative condition between 2003 and 2010 to see if the supplement had a positive effect. Scientists used neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging on 229 individuals who didn't have cognitive decline, 397 who had mild impairment and 193 with the disease itself. 

It transpired that those who took fish oil did have much lower levels of cognitive decline and their brains did not decrease in size, in comparison to those who did not take the supplement. 

However, it must be pointed out that these encouraging findings only applied for those who did not have one of the main genetic triggers for developing the disease - APOE4. It is believed individuals with this gene cannot metabolise DHA, which is the fatty acid in fish oil that is thought to be behind its health benefits. 

Nevertheless, the researchers from Rhode Island Hospital do believe taking this supplement could have positive effects for those with the gene. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.