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Study Published This Week in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association Shows that Algal DHA Improved Memory and Learning in Healthy Adults Age 55 and Older

COLUMBIA, Md., Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Memory Improvement with Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Study (MIDAS) published online in March 2010 and in the November print issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association showed that algal DHA improved memory function in healthy aging adults, providing a benefit roughly equivalent to having the learning and memory skills of someone three years younger.

MIDAS is the first large, randomized and placebo-controlled study demonstrating the benefits of algal DHA in maintaining and improving brain health in older adults. The goal of MIDAS was to evaluate the effects of algal DHA on cognitive outcomes in healthy elderly people with a mild memory complaint. The study was funded by Martek Biosciences.

MIDAS found that healthy people over age 55 with memory complaints who took 900 mg algal DHA capsules for six months had almost double the reduction in errors on a test that measures learning and memory performance versus those who took a placebo, a benefit roughly equivalent to having the learning and memory skills of someone three years younger. The DHA was well-tolerated and subjects taking the DHA also experienced a lower heart rate, providing additionally a significant cardiovascular benefit.

Another study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), conducted by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) group, found that treatment with DHA did not show statistically significant benefit in cognitive function over placebo in a population that already had an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and was also receiving concomitant prescription therapy. However, the study authors noted that intervention with DHA might have been effective if initiated earlier in the course of the disease in patients who do not have overt dementia. An editorial published in JAMA accompanying the study noted the same, stating that effective treatment strategies to prevent progression of Alzheimer's disease will likely need to be initiated earlier and that the treatment of mild to moderate AD may be "too late."

Of great interest, the ADCS study demonstrated a significantly slower rate of cognitive decline in a sub-population of subjects who did not have the APOe4 gene, a gene associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Approximately 50 percent of the Alzheimer's population as well as approximately 70 percent of the general population is APOe4 negative. The possible interaction between certain therapies, such as DHA, and genetic status is an intriguing finding that could be clinically significant should these results be duplicated in future research.

Both of these studies raise the possibility that early dietary interventions prior to the onset of any memory related disease may be necessary for an effect. Early detection of and diagnostic methods for Alzheimer's are key in order to test therapies at earlier stages.

The source of DHA used in MIDAS and the ADCS studies was a vegetarian and sustainable algal DHA produced by Martek Biosciences that is marketed to consumers under the brand name of life'sDHA™. Algal DHA supplements that enable consumers to easily increase daily algal DHA intake can be found at major drugstores and retailers under the Algal-900™ product name and carrying the life'sDHA logo.

About DHA

DHA omega-3 is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a primary building block for the brain and the eyes and supports brain, eye and cardiovascular health throughout life. There is a large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that people of all ages benefit from an adequate supply of DHA omega-3 in their diets. Scientific reviews have highlighted the importance of DHA omega-3 in proper brain and eye development and function, as well as its importance in cardiovascular health. Leading experts around the world have noted that DHA is an important nutrient for health throughout the life cycle. Yet despite its importance, Americans have among the lowest dietary intakes of DHA omega-3 in the world.

Fish are often incorrectly thought to be the only source of DHA omega-3. However, life'sDHA offers a trusted, vegetarian form of algal DHA that contains no oceanic pollutants or toxins. Fish are sources of DHA because of the DHA-rich microalgae in their food chain; life'sDHA is derived directly from microalgae, a renewable, sustainable source of DHA that does not deplete ocean resources, and is produced entirely in the U.S. in an FDA-inspected facility. Today, life'sDHA is found in numerous foods, beverages and supplements for people of all ages. It is also the only source of DHA used in U.S. infant formula and is included in more than 99 percent of all formulas on the U.S. market, as well as in more than 350 brands of infant formula, nutritional supplements and functional foods sold in over 75 countries worldwide.

About Martek

Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) is a leader in the innovation, development, production and sales of high-value products from microbial sources that promote health and wellness through nutrition.  The company is the world's leading provider of algal DHA omega-3 with its flagship product, life'sDHA, a sustainable and vegetarian source of algal DHA omega-3 important for brain, heart and eye health throughout life, for use in foods, beverages, infant formula, and supplements. The company also produces life'sARA™ (arachidonic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid, for use in infant formula and growing up milks. Additionally, Martek's subsidiary, Amerifit Brands, develops, markets and distributes branded consumer health and wellness products in major mass, club, drug, grocery and specialty stores and holds leading brand positions in all of its key product categories. For more information on Martek Biosciences, visit For information about life'sDHA™ or life'sARA™ products, visit or For more information about Amerifit Brands, visit

Sections of this release contain forward-looking statements. These statements are based upon numerous assumptions which Martek cannot control and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ. These statements should be understood in light of the risk factors set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, the company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2009 and other filed reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-K/A, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.


Cassie France-Kelly

Public Relations, Martek

(443) 542-2116

SOURCE Martek Biosciences Corporation
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
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