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Weekly Fish Consumption May Reduce The Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease

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Weekly Fish Consumption May Reduce The Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease

According to a new study, people who consume fish once a week have an improved brain metabolism, thus reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. This study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Study leader, Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D. stated that this is the first time when, a link was established between fish consumption, brain structures and Alzheimer’s disease and the results are very promising.  People who consume fish, especially baked or broiled, once a week, show a better preservation of the grey matter of the brain areas with risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Eating fried fish, on the other hand, was not proven to increase brain volume or exercit any protection against cognitive decline.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and incurable pathological entity that is irreversibly affecting memory and cognitive skills. In mild cognitive impairment memory loss occurs, but not as sever as in Alzheimer’s disease. Patients with mild cognitive impairment have a higher risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease in the near future.

From 260 people with normal cognitive function that were included in the study, 163 people consumed baked or broiled fish at least once a week, for 10 years. The average consumption of fish dishes was between one and four times per week. Each subject underwent a MRI examination of the brain and then a brain mapping examination which has the capacity to measure the volume of grey matter.  The results of this two examinations where then analyzed by scientists to see if there is any corelation between weekly fish consumption and impoved brain activity. Only people who did not present the expression of apolipoprotein E4 ( ApoE4), a gene that is increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease were included in the study.

Broiled Fish

Broiled Fish

It is very important to have a higher volume of gray matter, as this reflects a good brain health. If during a routine imaging examination of the brain a decrease in gray matter volume is detected, that means that neurons are shrinking. The results of this study showed that consumption of broiled or baked fish, at least once a week, was associated with a higher volume of grey matter in certain areas of the brain (hippocampal, posterior cingulate and orbital cortex)

“Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s gray matter by making them larger and healthier. This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and lowers risk for the disorder.”, said Dr. Raji.

Another observation was that people who consume bake or broiled fish, at least once a week, also present increased levels of cognition.

The researchers discovered that these subjects have higher levels of working memory, even when other factors such as education, age, gender, physical activity were analyzed. Working memory is one of the most important component of cognitive function as it allows people to focus in tasks and to use their short-term memory. In Alzheimer’s disease, the working memory is greatly diminished.