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Fish prevents brain damage

Older adults who regularly eat fish may have a lower risk of subtle brain damage that contributes to stroke and dementia.

Fish prevents brain damage

Adults who regularly eat fish may have a lower risk of subtle brain damage that contributes to stroke and dementia. Previous studies have shown that fish and fish oil can help prevent stroke but no study has yet looked into the impact of fish on silent brain infracts. To investigate the association between fish consumption and brain abnormalities, Finnish researchers studied the MRI scans of 3,660 adults aged 65 years and older. Food frequency questionnaires were used to assess the dietary intakes of the participants. The participants were scanned again after five years. It was found that those who ate more fish were less likely to show certain silent brain infarcts, tiny areas of tissue that die because of an insufficient blood supply. Silent or subclinical brain infracts raise a person's longer-term risk of having a stroke or developing dementia. The participants who reported that they ate tuna and other baked or broiled fish at least three times per week were one-quarter less likely to have subclinical brain infarcts at the start of the study than those who rarely ate fish. Fish eaters also tended to be less likely to develop new infarcts over the next five years. No such benefits were linked to fried fish consumption. The findings were attributable to two major omega-3 fatty acids found in fish-eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that have clinically important health benefit of lowering the odds of developing silent brain infracts among adults.
Neurology
August 2008
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