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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 26;13(3):e0193568. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193568. eCollection 2018.

Association between cognitive function and supplementation with omega-3 PUFAs and other nutrients in ≥ 75 years old patients: A randomized multicenter study.

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Centro Residencial Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain.
Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn) Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
Grupo Amma, Pamplona, Spain.


A few studies have assessed the association between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) and cognitive impairment (CI) in very old adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a multinutrient supplementation rich in n-3 PUFA on the cognitive function in an institutionalized ≥75-year-old population without CI or with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A multicenter placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial was conducted between 2012 and 2013. Cognitive function was assessed at baseline and after one year using 4 neuropsychological tests. Nutritional status was assessed using Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA). Interaction between Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score and nutritional status were analyzed using linear regression models. A total of 99 participants were randomized to receive placebo or pills rich in n-3 PUFA. After 1-year follow-up, both groups decreased their MMSE score (-1.18, SD:0. 53 and -0.82, SD:0. 63, p = 0.67 for the control and the intervention group respectively). The memory subscale of the MMSE showed an improvement (+0.26, SD:0.18) in the intervention group against a worsening in the control group (-0.11, SD: 0.14; p = 0.09 for differences between groups). Patients at intervention group with normal nutritional status (MNA ≥24) showed an improvement in the MMSE (+1.03, p = 0.025 for differences between 1-y and baseline measurements) against a worsening in the group with malnutrition (MNA<24) (-0.4, p = 0.886 for differences between 1-y and baseline; p of interaction p = 0.05). Supplementation with n-3 PUFA did not show an improvement in the global cognitive function in institutionalized elderly people without CI or with MCI. They only suggest an apparent improvement in memory loss if previously they were well nourished.

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