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Brain SPECT Imaging Shows How Omega-3 Can Help Stop Alzheimer’s Disease

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Brain SPECT Imaging Shows How Omega-3 Can Help Stop Alzheimer's DiseaseNeuroimaging was able to show that there is increased blood flow in certain regions of the brain related to learning and memory among people with higher omega-3 levels.

The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to rise within the coming years and no remedy has been found. Just lately, interest in dietary methods for the prevention of cognitive decline has multiplied. In precise, the omega-3 fatty acids have shown anti-amyloid, anti-tau and anti inflammatory properties in the brains of animals. In a new article released in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers have found out that for patients with high omega-3 levels, blood flow in distinct areas of the brain is elevated.

According to George Perry, PhD, Dean and Professor of Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, This study is a major advance in demonstrating the value of nutritional intervention for brain health by using the latest brain imaging.

Single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, can measure blood perfusion in the brain. Graphics obtained from subjects performing more cognitive activities will show better blood flow in distinct brain areas. When these images had been compared to the Omega-3 Index, a measure of blood concentration of two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), investigators discovered a statistically significant correlation between higher blood flow and increased Omega-3 Index. Moreover, they evaluated the neuropsychological activities of the volunteers and have found out that omega-3 levels additionally correlated with some psychological feelings by utilising a standardized test battery (WebNeuro).

This study used a random sample of 166 subjects from a psychiatric referral clinic for which Omega-3 Index results have been measured. The members were categorized into two groups of higher EPA+DHA concentrations (>50th percentile) and lower concentrations.

Omega-3 index and brain perfusion 

The outcomes indicated statistically significant relationships between the Omega-3 index, regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas that are responsible for memory, and neurocognitive testing.

In summary, the study showed optimistic relationships between omega-3 EPA+DHA popularity, brain perfusion, and cognition. Lead author Daniel G. Amen, MD, of the Amen Clinics Inc., Costa Mesa, CA, says, This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.

Co-author William S. Harris, PhD, University of South Dakota School of Medicine Vermillion, SD, lends this perspective, Although we have considerable evidence that omega-3 levels are associated with better cardiovascular health, the role of the ‘fish oil’ fatty acids in mental health and brain physiology is just beginning to be explored. This study opens the door to the possibility that relatively simple dietary changes could favorably impact cognitive function.