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Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Protect Against Alzheimer's

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill reportingThere's new evidence that a certain oil found in some food may prevent Alzheimer's disease. California scientists have new findings on Omega 3 fatty acids.

It sounds almost too good to be true: eating salmon, certain supplements or special eggs may reduce your risk of Alzheimers disease.

Researchers at UCLA say believe it. They've shown for the first time that eating a diet rich in an omega three fatty acid called DHA helps protect the brain against the memory loss and cell damage caused by Alzheimers.

Scientists used specially bred mice. The mice carry genetic mutations that the brain lesions associated with advanced Alzheimers.

When the mice developed lesions, they were put on special diets.

Some ate food rich in DHA, others ate a nutritious diet, without DHA.

The mice eating DHA performed much better in memory testing, and their brains were less damaged.

Sally Frautschy, Ph.D./ UCLA School of Medicine: "DHA Supplemented animals could find swim platforms twice as fast as those depleted of DHA."

Alzheimers attacks the brain and is characterized by steady decline of memory.

Researchers are focusing more at what individuals can do to alter their individual risk of the disease. But it's a race against time.

Bill Fisher/ Alzheimer's Association: "Alzheimer's disease affects four and a half million Americans today and an incredible growth in this disease-- 15- to 16-million Americans by the middle of the century."

UCLA researchers believe a diet rich in DHA could hold the genetic disease at bay in both animals and patients, though no studies have been done in humans.

Cheap sources of DHA include coldwater fish like salmon, halibut, mackeral, sardines or herring.

More costly options include fish oil supplements or purified DHA supplements made from algae.

You can also buy eggs laid by chickens that eat DHA supplemented feed.

So how much DHA should be in your daily diet? UCLA researchers say one serving of fish, one thousand milligram supplement or one DHA enriched egg.

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