martes, 1 de mayo de 2012

NLM Director's Comments Transcript - Increased Brain Function & Omega-3s

NLM Director's Comments Transcript - Increased Brain Function & Omega-3s

NLM Director’s Comments Transcript
Increased Brain Function & Omega-3s: 04/30/2012

Picture of Dr. Lindberg Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Here is what's new this week in MedlinePlus.listen
Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids enhances brain health and cognitive function among older adults, finds an interesting study recently published in Neurology.
The study found seniors with elevated levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had higher scores on cognitive and memory tests compared to persons with low omega-3 fatty acid levels. The latter tests included visual memory, abstract reasoning, attention, and cognitive function.
The study also found older adults with higher omega-3 fatty acid levels in their blood had a comparatively larger brain volume. To put this another way, the study found adults with lower omega-3 fatty acid levels experienced increased brain shrinkage over time.
The study’s authors explain the brain tends to become smaller as adults age. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the study’s 1,575, post age-67 participants suggested overall, comparative brain volume changes were equivalent to two years of aging among adults with lower omega-3 levels, the study’s lead author, Zaldy Tan M.D., University of California-Los Angeles, told the Wall Street Journal.
The authors controlled for—and ruled out—some participant health and lifestyle factors, such as age, education, and body mass index, before suggesting differences in brain volume and cognitive function are associated with omega-3 fatty acid levels.
The study does not discuss participant dietary habits, or suggest how much fish (or other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids) persons ate to obtain higher levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids commonly are found in fish, such as herring, sardines, salmon, and halibut. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in other foods, such as eggs and flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acid food supplements are sold over–the–counter in drug stores and supermarkets throughout the U.S. A check of current prices at two national drug store chains suggests a bottle of high potency omega-3 fish oil costs about $15, or about .34 cents a tablet.
The Neurology study was based on a subset of seniors without dementia who were selected from the larger Framingham Heart Study. The study’s 12 authors explained the research featured some pioneering methods that included MRIs to determine brain changes and assessing omega-3 fatty acid levels from participant blood samples (in three month intervals) rather than relying on dietary self-reports. The authors explain the study is the first to assess omega-3 acid levels within blood cells, which more precisely measures omega-3’s build up during a longer period of time.
The comprehensive Framingham Heart Study started in 1948 and assesses how health and lifestyle impact heart disease. The Framingham Heart Study is under the direction of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Support for the current research also came from the National Institute on Aging. An array of findings from the Framingham Heart Study can be found by typing ‘Framingham heart study’ in the search box on’s home page.  
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provides additional information about the association between omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive function in the ‘research’ section of’s dementia health topic page.’s dietary fats health topic page also provides research summaries that include omega-3 fatty acids within the ‘research’ section. Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles are available in the ‘journal articles’ section within’s dietary fats health topic page. Links to omega-3 and related clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section.
From the dietary fats and dementia health topic pages, you can sign up to receive email updates with links to new information as it becomes available on MedlinePlus.
To find’s dietary fats health topic page, type ‘dietary fats’ in the search box on’s home page, then, click on ‘dietary fats (National Library of Medicine).’
To find’s dementia health topic page, please type ‘dementia’ in the search box on’s home page, that’s ‘D…E…M…E…N…T…I...A’  then, click on ‘dementia (National Library of Medicine).’
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A disclaimer – the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider. I want to take the opportunity to wish you a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year. The National Library of Medicine and the 'Director's Comments' podcast staff, including Dr. Lindberg, appreciate your interest and company – and we hope to find new ways to serve you in 2012.
I look forward to meeting you here next week.

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