E–Pearl of the Week: Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Good for the Brain

February 29, 2012


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February 28, 2012

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Good for the Brain

Regular dietary consumption of fish has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, stroke, and in some studies, a lower risk of dementia. A person's dietary fatty acid intake over the past 120 days can be approximated by measuring red blood cell (RBC) fatty acid composition from a fasting blood draw. People with low levels of the fatty acid DHA have been found to have lower brain volumes and greater amount of subcortical white matter hyperintensity on MRI. In addition, although these people were not clinically demented, they performed more poorly on tests of visual memory, executive function, and abstract thinking than people with higher levels of fatty acids.


1. Tan ZS, Harris WS, Beiser AS, et al. Red Blood Cell Omega–3 Fatty Acid Levels and Markers of Accelerated Brain Aging. Neurology 2012;9:658–664  

2. He K, Song Y, Daviglus ML, et al. Accumulated evidence on fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta–analysis of cohort studies. Circulation 2004;109:2705–2711.

Submitted by: Jennifer E. Fugate, D.O.

Disclosures: Dr. Fugate serves on the editorial team for the Neurology® Resident and Fellow Section.

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