Newspapers today are reporting a US study which suggests that eating fish could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The study, presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, asked 260 people cognitively normal people about how much fish they ate each week. The scientists, from the University of Pittsburgh, then followed these people for ten years, looking at how the structure of their brain changed over time and monitoring their cognitive performance. The study found that those people who reported eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week showed lower levels of brain shrinkage and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Over 820,000 people in the UK live with dementia and there is a desperate need to find methods of accurate diagnosis, treatment and prevention. This study suggests that eating fish on a weekly basis may reduce the risk of cognitive decline, but it is not clear whether other underlying factors may have contributed to the lower risk in people who eat fish. As a number of controlled studies using fatty acids from oily fish have failed to show benefits for dementia, there is a clear need for more conclusive research into the effects of dietary fish on our cognitive health.
“There are many factors which are known to influence our risk of developing dementia, including age, genes, environment and lifestyle and there is unlikely to be one change that we could make that would prevent dementia altogether. As we know that risk factors for heart disease and stroke can increase the risk of dementia, the best lifestyle advice we could give at this stage would be to exercise regularly and eat a healthy balanced diet.”