The research – published in PLoS One – investigated the effects of omega-3 supplementation on the cognitive functions of healthy young adults who are at the top of their ‘cognitive game’. In the first study of its kind, the US-based researchers supplemented 11 participants with high dose omega-3 for six months, finding that the supplementation improved working memory.
“We found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game,” explained project leader, Professor Bita Moghaddam from the University of Pittsburgh. “Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best.”
The research team – led by Rajesh Narendarn – supplemented 11 healthy young participants with 750 mg docosahexaenonic acid (DHA) and 930 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per day. Before they began taking the supplements, all participants underwent positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, and their blood samples were analyzed for omega-3 levels. In addition they were asked to perform a working memory test in which they were shown a series of letters and numbers and had to keep track of what appeared one, two, and three times prior (known as a simple ‘n-back test’).
“What was particularly interesting about the pre-supplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma Omega-3,” said Moghaddam. “This means that the omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory.”
After six months of taking the supplementation participants were then tested again – revealing a significant improvement in working memory. “It is really interesting that diets enriched with Omega-3 fatty acid can enhance cognition in highly functional young individuals,” said Narendarn. However, the lead researcher said it was ‘disappointing’ that the imaging studies were unable to clarify the mechanisms by which omega-3 might enhance working memory.
Source: PLoS ONE
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046832
“Improved Working Memory but No Effect on Striatal Vesicular Monoamine Transporter Type 2 after Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation”
Authors: Rajesh Narendran, William G. Frankle, Neale S. Mason, Matthew F. Muldoon, Bita Moghaddam
Diet May Influence Depression Risk
DEPRESSION, NUTRITION – Diet, Folate, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, Olive Oil, Fish, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Legumes
“Diet and the risk of unipolar depression in adults: systematic review of cohort studies,” Sanhueza C, Ryan L, et al, J Hum Nutr Diet, 2012 Oct 18; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: David R Foxcroft, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK. E-mail: email@example.com ).
A meta-analysis of 11 longitudinal studies involving unipolar depression and/or depressive symptoms in adults, between the ages of 18-97 years, found a link between depression and diet. Follow-up ranged from 2-13 years. Researchers found an inverse association between depression risk and folate, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Results indicate that diet and nutrition may influence depression risk.
Acupuncture May Relieve Depression
DEPRESSION – Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Chinese Herbs
“Acupuncture and Chinese herbs as treatments for depression: An Australian pilot study,” Lyons Z, van der Watt G, et al, Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2012 Nov; 18(4):216-20. (Address: Zaza Lyons, School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Australia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
A clinical study involving 19 patients found that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for depression. Participants received either acupuncture (n=12) or acupuncture and Chinese herbs combined (n=7) for 5 weeks. Acupuncture was given for 30 min 2x per week and herbs taken 3x per day. Treatment improved depressive symptoms and there were no differences between groups. Results indicate that acupuncture may be an effective treatment in reducing depressive symptoms.