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CHICAGO, July 21 (AFP) - Elderly people may be able to cut their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by almost half by including one or more servings of fish in their diet every week, according to a new study.
In a study of more than 800 people aged 65 and up, individuals who ate fish at least once a week were found to be 60 percent less likely to develop the debilitating mental illness than their peers who rarely or never ate fish.
The findings are consistent with a number of previous studies which have shown a strong correlation between the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish -- (and also brain cell membranes) -- and mental function.
Laboratory animals fed diets enriched with these fatty acids have shown improved nerve function, learning and memory, according to the study in the Archives of Neurology.
"Our findings suggest that consumption of fish -- at least weekly -- oil-based salad dressings and nuts may reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease," wrote Martha Clare Morris, a lead author on the study at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The 815 Chicago residents enrolled in the study were tracked for seven years between 1993 and 2000. None of them had AD at the beginning of that period, but 131 went on to develop the chronic, progressive disorder and the most common form of dementia.
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