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Fish keeps brain diseases at bay, says study

Fish really is brain food and eating enough of it can make one years younger.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2005 20:35 IST

Fish really is brain food and eating enough of it can make you years younger, researchers said in a study released on Monday.

Scientists at Rush University Medical Center found that elderly people who ate fish at least once a week had a 10 to 13 per cent per year slower rate of cognitive decline than those who did not eat fish regularly.

"The rate reduction is the equivalent of being three to four years younger in age," lead researcher Martha Clare Morris wrote in the study posted online Monday in the American Medical Association's Archives of Neurology. It will be published in the print edition of the journal in December.

Fish is a direct source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be essential for cognitive development and normal brain functioning, according to background information in the article.

Fish consumption has been associated with lower risk of dementia, stroke and Alzheimer's disease and recent studies have suggested that consumption of one omega-3 fatty acid in particular, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is important for memory performance in aged animals.

The researchers analysed data from a broad, ongoing study of 6,158 Chicago residents aged 65 and older. In home interviews which included cognitive testing were conducted from 1993 to 1997 and repeated in two follow-up interviews every three years.

Fish consumption was low to moderate, with 21 per cent of the participants eating fish at least twice a week and 36 percent eating fish at least once a week.

The researchers examined whether overall dietary consumption patterns accounted for the association of cognitive decline and fish consumption, but the rate differences did not change after adjusting for consumption of fruit and vegetables.

First Published: Oct 21, 2005 20:35 IST