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Eating Baked or Broiled Fish Weekly Boosts Brain Health, Pitt Study Says
Date:8/4/2014

dietary intake, had high-resolution brain MRI scans, and were cognitively normal at two time points during their participation in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a 10-year multicenter effort that began in 1989 to identify risk factors for heart disease in people over 65.

“The subset of CHS participants answered questionnaires about their eating habits, such as how much fish did they eat and how was it prepared,” Dr. Raji said. “Baked or broiled fish contains higher levels of omega-3s than fried fish because the fatty acids are destroyed in the high heat of frying, so we took that into consideration when we examined their brain scans.”

People who ate baked or broiled fish at least once a week had greater grey matter brain volumes in areas of the brain responsible for memory (4.3 percent) and cognition (14 percent) and were more likely to have a college education than those who didn’t eat fish regularly, the researchers found. But no association was found between the brain differences and blood levels of omega-3s.

“This suggests that lifestyle factors, in this case eating fish, rather than biological factors contribute to structural changes in the brain,” Dr. Becker noted. “A confluence of lifestyle factors likely are responsible for better brain health, and this reserve might prevent or delay cognitive problems that can develop later in life.”

Co-authors include Kirk I. Erickson, Ph.D., Oscar Lopez, M.D., Lewis H. Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., and H. Michael Gach, Ph.D., all of the University of Pittsburgh; Paul M. Thompson, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California; and Mario Riverol, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

The research reported in this article was supported in part by contracts HC-85239, HC-85079 through HC-85086, HC-35129, HC-15103, HC-55222, HC-75150, HC-45133, and grant HL080295 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), with additional contribution from the Nati
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