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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2017 Jun;121:68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Jun 15.

Erythrocyte omega-3 fatty acids are inversely associated with incident dementia: Secondary analyses of longitudinal data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS).

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA, USA.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, SD, USA.
3
Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA, USA; Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA.
4
Department of Biostatistical Services, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
5
Department of Internal Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, SD, USA; OmegaQuant Analytics LLC, Sioux Falls, SD, USA. Electronic address: bill@omegaquant.com.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess whether red blood cell (RBC) docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (DHA+EPA) levels have a protective association with the risk of dementia in older women.

METHODS:

RBC DHA+EPA levels were assessed at baseline, and cognitive status was evaluated annually in a cohort of 6706 women aged ≥65 years who participated in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS). Cox regression was used to quantify the association between RBC DHA+EPA and the risk of probable dementia, independent of major dementia risk factors.

RESULTS:

During a median follow-up period of 9.8 years, 587 incident cases of probable dementia were identified. After adjusting for demographic, clinical, and behavioral risk factors, a one standard deviation increase in DHA+EPA levels was associated with a significantly lower risk of dementia (HR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.84, 1.00; p < 0.05). This effect estimate did not meaningfully change after further adjustment for baseline cognitive function and APOE genotype. For women with high DHA+EPA exposure (1SD above mean) compared to low exposure (1SD below mean), the adjusted 15-year absolute risk difference for dementia was 2.1% (95% CI: 0.2%, 4.0%). In secondary analyses, we also observed a protective association with longitudinal change in Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) Exam scores, but no significant association with incident MCI, PD/MCI, or baseline 3MS scores.

DISCUSSION:

Higher levels of DHA+EPA may help protect against the development of dementia. Results from prospective randomized controlled trials of DHA+EPA supplementation are needed to help clarify whether this association is causal.

KEYWORDS:

All cognitive disorders/dementia; Alzheimer's Disease; Biomarkers; Cohort studies; Omega-3 fatty acids; Women

PMID:
28651700
PMCID:
PMC5564209
DOI:
10.1016/j.plefa.2017.06.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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