Several observational studies have ascertained the fact that low serum DHA is a significant risk factor for the development of cognitive impairment as well as Alzheimer’s disease. The development of Alzheimer’s disease has been attributed to the development of and pathologic accumulation of β-amyloid in the brain. This detrimental accumulation of β-amyloid leads to oxidative stress and neuronal destruction. In animal models, DHA has been shown to have a protective effect against the development of impaired learning ability in β-amyloid infused rats by decreasing the levels of lipid peroxide and reactive oxygen species in the cortico-hippocampal tissues as well as eliminating the amyloid burden from brain tissue.A prospective study of 899 patients showed that patients who had higher plasma DHA levels had a statistically significant 47% reduction in the risk of developing all-cause dementia and 39% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease when compared to those patients with lower DHA levels. Additional studies also indicate that high intake of PUFAs from consumption of fish was associated with better overall cognitive function and reduced speed of cognitive decline in patients between the ages of 45-70 years. Another prospective study showed that patients between the ages of 65 to 94 years who consumed fish once per week or more had 60% less risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared with those who rarely or never ate fish. The Rotterdam study, conducted in the early 1990s on 7,046 patients, which assessed the incidence and risk of dementia suggested that consumption of high saturated fat and cholesterol increases the risk of dementia, while consumption of fish may decrease this risk.
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