Eat Fish, Preserve Brain

Yesterday, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reported that fish eaters have a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a debilitating and incurable brain disease that results in memory loss.

The brainy study!

Researchers presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.(1)  The study involved 260 healthy adults (71 years old) having no memory problems in 1989-1990.  The subjects took a survey to help researchers learn if they a., ate fish, b., how they prepared fish and c., how many times per week they ate fish.  The researchers took scans of the subjects’ brains to compare later on.

Brain health results

10 years later, the researchers learned that 163 out of 260 ate fish at least once per week, and on average, one-four times per week.  The remainder who did not eat fish developed Alzheimer’s or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) over the following five years.  They concluded this by looking at the later brain scans.  They found that those who ate fish weekly had more gray matter in the hippocampus (an area of the brain that regulates emotion and memory), the posterior cingulate (plays a role in memory recall) and the orbital frontal cortex (plays a role in decision-making).

What to take away?

Eating fried fish was not shown to protect the brain in this study.  The results showed positive effects only with baked or broiled fish intake.

Eat fish at least twice per week and upwards of four times to protect your brain.


(1) RSNA Press Release: Eating Fish Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease


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