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Results from trials of DHA in Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline
Date:7/11/2009

oil is abundant in some marine microalgae, which provide the DHA that makes fatty fish a good source of DHA. Dietary DHA is also available in foods enriched with algal DHA or fish oils, and dietary supplements. Previous animal studies and epidemiology in humans suggested that DHA may be beneficial in people with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study 18-Month DHA Trial in Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers from the National Institute on Aging (NIA)-supported Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), led by Joseph Quinn, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health and Sciences University, conducted a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial comparing DHA and placebo in 402 people (average age=76) diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer's at 51 sites in the U.S.

At the beginning of the trial, all participants had a dietary DHA intake of less than 200 mg per day. Subjects were treated with DHA or placebo at a dose of two grams per day for 18 months. Those participants already taking approved Alzheimer's drugs could continue taking them during the trial. Co-primary outcomes were rate of change on the Alzheimer's disease assessment scale-cognitive (ADAS-cog) and rate of change on Clinical Dementia Scale-sum of the boxes (CDR-SOB). These two measures are the current standard tests used by FDA when assessing new Alzheimer's drugs.

According to the researchers, treatment with DHA clearly increased blood levels of DHA, and also appeared to increase brain DHA levels, based on a measured increase of DHA in study participants' cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, DHA treatment did not slow the rate of change on tests of mental function (ADAS-cog), global dementia severity status (CDR-SOB), activities of daily living (ADL), or behavioral symptoms (NPI) in the study population as a whole. There was no different treatment effect between the mild and moderate Alzheimer's patients.

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Contact: Niles Frantz
niles.frantz@alz.org
312-363-8782
Alzheimer's Association
Source:Eurekalert

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