In a pre-planned exploratory data analysis, study participants were divided according to whether or not they carried the "e4" version of the "ApoE" gene. ApoE-e4 increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's but does not appear to modify the rate of disease progression. In the people who had an ApoE-e4 gene, the researchers found no benefits of DHA treatment. In contrast, those without the ApoE-e4 gene who received DHA had a slower rate of decline on the primary test of mental function (the ADAS-cog). A trend in the same direction was seen on the Mini-mental state examination, another test of mental function.
"This is an intriguing exploratory result," said Quinn. "However it must be treated with appropriate caution. The finding requires further study for confirmation."
"One of the issues raised by this study and other recent Alzheimer's and mild cognitive impairment therapy trials concerns a possible interaction between certain therapies and genetic status. This issue needs to be explored more completely in future trials," Thies added.
Memory Improvement with DHA Study (MIDAS)
Researchers at Martek Biosciences Corporation examined the effects of algal DHA as a possible neuroprotective nutritional supplement for ARCD in their Memory Improvement with DHA Study (MIDAS).
Scientists led by Karin Yurko-Mauro, PhD, Associate Director of Clinical Research at Martek, conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center, six month study to determine the effects of 900 mg per day of algal DHA on improving cognitive functions in 485 healthy older people (average age=70) with mild memory complaint. The primary outcome measure was a change from baseline in CANTAB Paired Associate Learning (PAL), a visuospatial episodic memory test.
After six months, the researchers found that the study participants ta
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