Is Fish Really Brain Food?
Research suggests fish may reduce risk of Alzheimer's Disease

October 27, 2002

Does eating fish every day keep brain disease away? French researchers think so -- they visited with 1,664 elderly people (68 years and older) to see if there was a relationship between eating seafood and Alzheimer's disease. At the time of the first visit, none of people in the study group had any signs of Alzheimer's disease (AD). People were asked how often they ate meat, fish and seafood. The researchers revisited 1,416 of these people several years later and gave each person a mini-examination of mental ability to look for signs of AD.

Seven years after the first visit, the researchers found 135 probable cases of AD. The incidence of AD appeared to be related to how often someone ate seafood: as the amount of seafood someone ate increased, the likelihood of symptoms of AD decreased. However, the researchers also noticed that people with more education also ate more seafood. Some studies have shown that people with higher education are less prone to developing AD. So, although eating seafood was related to a reduced AD risk, it does not mean that eating fish causes this effect directly.

It is likely that AD is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental (including dietary) factors. Nevertheless, fish contain a large amount of n-3 fatty acids that may help brain blood circulation and reduce brain inflammation, therefore reducing the risk of developing symptoms of AD.

What's for dinner tonight? Salmon? Halibut? Filet of sole?
Relation of Fish Consumption to AD

The numbers above each bar represent the number of cases of AD and the number of people in each group. For example, in the right bar, 35 people reported that they never ate fish. Of these 35 people, 8 were diagnosed with AD.

Reference and more information, see:

  1. Barberger-Gateau, P., Letenneur, L., Deschamps, V., Peres, K., Dartigues, J-F., and Renaud, S. Fish, meat, and risk of dementia: cohort study. British Medical Journal, 325:932-933, 2002.
  2. Nutrition and the Brain

GO TO: Neuroscience In The News Explore the Nervous System Table of Contents

Send E-mail

Fill out survey

Get Newsletter

Search Pages