Eating Fish Reduces Risk of Alzheimer's
2011-11-30
Eating Fish Reduces Risk of Al...

Eating grilled or baked fish just once a week could stave off Alzheimer's by stopping the brain from shrinking. A new study establishes for the first time a direct link between fish consumption and the health of 'grey cells' that are vital for memory and other key brain functions.

The new 10 year study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine used MRI scans to track the brain health of 260 healthy people over 10 years, and the link to fish consumption.

Lead author Cyrus Raji, from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said: 'This is the first study to establish a direct relationship between fish consumption, brain structure and Alzheimer's risk. The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled (grilled) fish at least one time per week had better preservation of grey matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer's disease.'

Each patient underwent 3-D volumetric MRI of the brain which produced data that could be used to map the volume of grey matter in different areas of the brain over a 10-year period. Regular fish consumption of one to four times a week was found to preserve grey matter and reduce the risk for Alzheimer's disease.

There was a fivefold cut in risk of developing memory loss known as mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's if there was more grey matter in the hippocampal, posterior cingulate and orbital frontal cortex regions of the brain.

Dr Raji said brain volume was crucial to brain health and when it remains higher, brain health is being maintained. Declining levels of grey matter indicate that brain cells are shrinking.

He said: 'Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain' s grey matter by making them larger and healthier. This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain's resistance to Alzheimer's disease and lowers risk for the disorder.'

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