Diet rich in fish cuts dementia risk
Nov 20, 2006 - 6:03:39 PM

New York, Nov 20 (IANS) A diet rich in fish could significantly lower the risk of dementia, says a new study.

The key appears to be docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid often found in fish. DHA is essential for the growth and development of the brain in infants. It is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults.

It appears to cut dementia risk and to be important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, reported health portal HealthDay News.

Mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in DHA.

'If you have a high level of DHA, it reduces your risk of dementia by about half, said Ernst J. Schaefer, director of the lipid metabolism laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging in Boston.

The study, published in the latest issue of the Archives of Neurology, found that people with the highest blood levels of DHA had a 47 percent lower risk of developing dementia and a 39 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Dementia is an organic mental disorder characterised by a general loss of intellectual abilities involving impairment of memory, judgment and abstract thinking.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are also known to protect the heart and the circulatory system.

'Just as fish is good for your heart, it's probably good for your brain as well,' added Schaefer, who led the study.

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