Skip to comments.DHA 'fish oil' supplements do not seem to slow cognitive, functional decline in Alzheimer's disease
Posted on 11/02/2010 1:56:50 PM PDT by decimon
Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) who received supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), believed to possibly reduce the risk of AD, did not experience a reduction in the rate of cognitive and functional decline, compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the November 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on aging.
Joseph F. Quinn, M.D., of Oregon Health and Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, Ore., presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing at the National Press Club.
"Several studies have found that consumption of fish, the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline or dementia. Some studies have found that consumption of DHA, but not other omega-3 fatty acids, is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer disease," the authors write. However, those studies were observational and did not control who received DHA. Animal studies that used DHA showed reductions in Alzheimer-like brain pathology.
Dr. Quinn and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled trial to examine whether DHA supplementation would slow the rate of cognitive and functional decline in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. The study, which was conducted between November 2007 and May 2009 at 51 U.S. clinical research sites, included 402 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Participants were randomly assigned to DHA at a dose of 2 grams/day or to identical placebo (60 percent were assigned to DHA and 40 percent were assigned to placebo). Duration of treatment was 18 months. Changes in cognitive and functional abilities were assessed with the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale
(ADAS-cog) and the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) sum of boxes. Rate of brain atrophy was also determined by volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a subsample of participants.
A total of 295 participants completed the trial while taking study medication (DHA: 171; placebo: 124). The researchers found that supplementation with DHA had no beneficial effect on rate of change on ADAS-cog score, with the rate of average change in the score over 18 months being 8.27 points for the placebo group and 7.98 points for the DHA group. The rate of points change on CDR sum of boxes over 18 months was 2.93 for the placebo group compared with 2.87 for the DHA group.
Among the individuals participating in the MRI substudy (102 had MRIs at the beginning of the study and at 18 months [DHA group: 53; placebo group: 49]), an analysis showed no effect of DHA treatment on total brain volume change during 18 months.
"In summary, these results indicate that DHA supplementation is not useful for the population of individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease," the authors write.
The researchers add that "because part of the rationale for the trial was epidemiological evidence that DHA use before disease onset modifies the risk of Alzheimer disease, it remains possible that an intervention with DHA might be more effective if initiated earlier in the course of the disease in patients who do not have overt dementia."
(JAMA. 2010;304:1903-1911. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)
Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Please Note: For this study, there will be multimedia content available, including the JAMA Report video, embedded and downloadable video, audio files, text, documents, and related links. This content will be available at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, November 2 at www.digitalnewsrelease.com/?q=jama_3763.
Editorial: Treatment of Alzheimer Disease and Prognosis of Dementia
In an accompanying editorial, Kristine Yaffe, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, comments on the findings of this study.
"This trial adds to a growing literature that treatment with DHA does not improve symptoms of AD. Although several observational studies reported that diets rich in fish or supplements with omega-3 fatty acids were associated with reduced risk of developing AD, most randomized clinical trials for treatment of AD or mild cognitive impairment or in healthy elderly individuals have not found a beneficial effect."
(JAMA. 2010;304:1952-1953. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)
Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
To contact Joseph F. Quinn, M.D., call Ken Olsen at 503-494-8231 or email email@example.com. To contact editorial author Kristine Yaffe, M.D., call Steve Tokar at 415-221-4810, ext. 5202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact JAMA/Archives Media Relations at 312/464-JAMA (5262) or e-mail email@example.com.
Go fish ping.
Omega 3 still does a lot of good regardless.
Not even when the fish oil is fortified with extra strength placebo?
Have some ‘hope’, have some ‘change’....take heart, the liberal ‘progressive’ humans now in control of the research arm of our country (aided by our Government) are doing their level-best to promote the wonderful benefits of applying embryonic [code word for aborted baby] stem cells to treat these debilitating diseases, mind you only of the body. What’s the problem? These ‘cells’ were just ‘harvested’ from unused fetal tissue that nobody wanted. What’s the problem with that? Devils....
If you actually look at the research (not just read the article), then you will find (in most instances) that it was done in a to make these results. In other words it financial benefits the pharmaceutical companies BIG TIME! Translation it’s a bogus study and results.
I have seen so much of this B.S. time that I just laugh at these studies. How you can tell if its crap right off back is if financially benefits one group big time. Then you can pretty much tell you its crap.
Fish Oil is fantastic for you. Don’t fall for one of these bogus studies.
It might be suggested that giving omega 3 (as a single form remedy) to a full blown Alzheimer’s patient would constitute a poorly designed study. On the other hand, giving omega 3 to unfit 9-10 year old children with impaired cognitive skills
might stand a chance of demonstrating a positive impact.
That would make you a shill for the fish oil supplement industry.
YEP....I’m wondering who paid for the study.....don’t have time to go look.
Not to hijack the thread or anything, but I object to the term “fetus”.
When someone says they just found out they are pregnant, I don’t think “Well, after a few cellular transformations and a couple of larval stages, followed by the fetus thing, it will be a baby” I just think “You are having a baby!” (from the instant of conception).
I understand. I use that term because that is what ‘they’ use, only they tack an innocuous ‘tissue’ to it. They are monsters.
Just for the record there is not much money in fish oil compared to the pharmaceuticals companies.
That was your stated logic, not mine.
??? You have the debate skills of an illogical leftist goon. If that is honestly the best you have, then please don’t waste my time with your rubbish.
Just for the record, *that's the problem.*
If studies came out showing this low-margin item to be safe and efficacious, where would the need be for expensive proprietary formulations?
And the need for the testing and regulatory infrastructures would be greatly diminshed as well.
Things seem to be getting crusty. So that brings me to a question. Is a crustacean a shillfish?
Bingo! Thanks and well said.
LOL! That was good!
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