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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Associated with Higher Cognitive Function in Former Depressives

Associations between omega-3 PUFA concentrations and cognitive function in an at-risk sample of older people with previous major depression were examined in this cross-sectional study. Participants (n=132) (mean +/- SD age: 67.8 +/- 6.6 y) had recovered from major depression. Samples and information were taken through questionnaire, cognitive tests and fasting blood samples. Higher EPA and total omega-3 PUFA concentrations and a lower ratio of arachidonic acid to EPA in erythrocyte membranes were associated with a higher cognitive composite score, adjusted for education levels. The strongest and most consistent correlations were found between immediate recall and concentrations of total omega-3 PUFAs and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in erythrocytes, which were observed only in participants with recurrent depression. Findings suggest that total erythrocyte omega-3 PUFA concentrations may be positively associated with cognitive function, immediate recall, in elderly population with previous depression and that lower concentrations of omega-3 PUFAs or ALA in erythrocyte membranes may be good predictors for cognitive impairment in the same population.

Reference:

"Associations between n-3 PUFA concentrations and cognitive function after recovery from late-life depression," Chiu CC, Frangou S, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan 4; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Psychiatric Center, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail: Sophia.frangou@kcl.ac.uk ).

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