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Eating More Foods Rich in Omega-3s May Lower Alzheimer's Risk: Study
Date:5/3/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may guard against Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests.

The finding stems from work conducted among roughly 1,200 dementia-free patients over the age of 65. All underwent blood tests to assess levels of a key Alzheimer's-associated protein after providing the study authors with a dietary breakdown dating back more than a year.

"Past research has shown that, in this population, higher levels of the beta amyloid protein appear related to a higher risk for developing Alzheimer's disease," said study author Yian Gu, an associate research scientist with the Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University in New York City. "So we wanted to try and figure out if what we eat can affect these levels."

"We considered only the omega-3 nutrient content in [study participants'] diets," Gu added, "because our previous studies showed that the Mediterranean diet -- which is characterized by fish, nuts, vegetables and a lower intake of read meat -- was associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer's. And this time, when we measured beta amyloid levels in their blood -- which is representative of what we would find in the brain -- we found that the more omega-3 content in the diet, the lower the beta amyloid levels."

Gu and her colleagues discuss the possibility that seniors could perhaps eat their way to a lower risk for Alzheimer's in the May 2 online issue of the journal Neurology.

The authors noted that prior research, including their own, has found a possible association between the consumption of certain foods and a lower risk for dementia. Exactly why that would be the case, however, has remained unclear.

To shed some light on the mystery, the team focused on seniors residing in the northern part of Manhattan in New York City. All had und
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