Vienna, July 12, 2009 Results from two large studies using DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, were reported today at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna.
One of the trials was conducted by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the second by Martek Biosciences Corporation (Martek), the primary company that makes algal DHA for supplementation. The NIA trial lasted 18 months and was conducted in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Martek's trial was six months, and the compound was tested in healthy people to see its effect on "age related cognitive decline" (ARCD). Both studies used Martek's algal DHA.
The results of the ADCS trial show no evidence for benefit in the studied population. The Martek trial showed a positive result on one test of memory and learning, but that study was in healthy older adults, not people with Alzheimer's or another dementia. The results need confirmation, as is standard scientific practice.
"These two studies and other recent Alzheimer's therapy trials raise the possibility that treatments for Alzheimer's must be given very early in the disease for them to be truly effective," said William Thies, PhD, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer's Association. "For that to happen, we need to get much better at early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's, in order to test therapies at earlier stages of the disease and enable earlier intervention."
Other research studies from ICAD 2009 show advances made in biomarkers and early detection from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), and also survey results from doctors about the enablers and barriers they face in diagnosing people with Alzheimer's.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is naturally found in the body in small amounts, and is the most abundant omega 3 fatty acid in the brain. DHA
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