Jul 122009
 

Vienna, July 12, 2009 – Results from two large studies using DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, were reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna.

One of the trials was conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the second by Martek Biosciences Corporation. The NIA trial lasted 18 months and was conducted in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Martek’s trial was six months, and was conducted in healthy people to see its effect on “age related cognitive decline” Both studies used Martek’s algal DHA.

The results of the ADCS trial show no evidence for benefit in the studied population. The Martek trial showed a positive result on one test of memory and learning, but that study was in healthy older adults with mild memory complaint, not people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The results need confirmation.

“These two studies – and other recent Alzheimer’s therapy trials – raise the possibility that treatments for Alzheimer’s must be given very early in the disease for them to be truly effective,” said William Thies, PhD, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. “For that to happen, we need to get much better at early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.”

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is the most abundant omega 3 fatty acid in the brain. Previous animal studies and epidemiology in humans suggested that DHA may be beneficial in people with Alzheimer’s.

The studies reported at ICAD 2009 were:
– Joseph Quinn, et al – A clinical trial of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
– Karin Yurko-Mauro, et al – Results of the MIDAS Trial: Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Physiological and Safety Parameters in Age-Related Cognitive Decline.

For more information, visit: http://www.alz.org

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