Scientists from the University of Texas at San Antonio have found that foods with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be associated with higher cognitive skills in middle age. The study is published in the journal Neurology.
The study involved 2,183 people with an average age of 46 who did not have dementia or stroke. They measured the level of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells, the level of cognitive abilities and brain volume. Even with other factors taken into account, high levels of omega-3 were associated with higher average scores on the abstract thinking test, as well as with a larger hippocampus — an area of the brain that plays an important role in memory.
Scientists also confirmed the well-known effect of the genetic variant APOE-e4: their carriers had lower levels of omega-3 and less hippocampal volume.
The work found only an association, not a causal relationship, but still proves the need for further research. The results of scientists can form the basis for the prevention of dementia with a diet, especially in carriers of APOE-e4.