Surgery News

Diet rich in omega-3 oils, fruit, veggies and fish protects against dementia

September 29, 2015

The researchers at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in France carried out a four-year study involving 8,085 men and women all residents of Montpellier, Dijon and Bordeaux.

They were examined for signs of dementia and asked to complete a questionnaire about their eating habits and the psychiatric examination was repeated every two years.

At the start of the study all the participants were over 65 and did not have dementia; over the four-year period, 183 people developed Alzheimer's disease, while another 98 developed a type of dementia.

The researchers then took a closer look at the dietary patterns of the participants.

The team found that a diet rich in omega-3 oils which most of the participants got through salad dressing, were associated with a 60% drop in dementia risk ; there was also a 30% drop in dementia risk among regular fruit and vegetable eaters.

The researchers also found that regular fish consumption reduced the risk of Alzheimer's by 35%, but only if subjects did not have a known genetic risk factor for the disease.

In the UK alone around 500,000 people are believed to suffer from Alzheimer's and women are slightly more at risk than men.

The risk increases markedly with age, before 65 only 1 in 1,000 are affected but around 1 in 20 of over-65s are affected and after 80 nearly half have the disease.

The study appears in the November 13, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

This is not an easy process and the modified technique cut the amount of damage done to the eggs but nevertheless 304 eggs from 14 rhesus macaque monkeys were used before two stem cell lines were produced.

Apparently the dyes used in cloning some animals are toxic to primate cells.

The researchers say much work will be needed before the process could be applied to human eggs.

Mitalipov says the embryonic stem cells were found to be truly pluripotent - able to develop into any kind of cell found in the body - and they were able to develop them into heart cells and nerve cells.

Mitalipov says to date the team has failed to produce cloned monkeys that could grow into live baby monkeys by using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technique.

He says his team will not try to clone humans but they hope the techniques they have developed will be useful for other scientists working with human eggs.

Experts say the research makes the creation of cloned human embryos a realistic possibility and say the stem cells they could provide would be invaluable in the search for new treatments for incurable conditions such Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease.

They say the breakthrough has huge implications in terms of new therapies but many critics who are wary of such research say the breakthrough heralds a potential 'ethical nightmare'.

The research is published in the journal Nature.