Serendipity - DHA and Soy may help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

September 02, 2004

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are broken down into EPA and DHA. Other than fatty-cold water fish such as salmon, cod, halibut, and herring, only plankton is a source of DHA. A recent study in the July 2003 issue of the journal Archives of Neurology Neurology shows that people over the age of 65 who ate omega-3 fatty acid rich fish at least once a week had a 60% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to the elderly who ate these fish infrequently. In another study postmenopausal women who take supplements containing soy Isoflavones may experience improved memory and recall. This study was published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. . In the current supportive study the scientists have partially unraveled the mystery of the protection offered by both fish fats and soy. The brains of mice infused with human Alzheimer's causing genes were observed to see how the disease worsens and what environmental factors affect the disease. To the surprise of the American and French researchers - although the mice developed brain lesions seen in advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, they didn't suffer from memory loss. The researchers were stymied and looked and looked at what might be protecting the memories of the mice, and they discovered that the mouse chow contained some EPA, but especially had a large amount of DHA, it also contained a lot of soy, so much so that it closely resembled the Japanese dietary content of fish oil-DHA and soy. The researchers also noted that the mouse chow ingredients protected the synapse - the area where nerves communicate with each other. The study is found in the September 2nd issue of Neuron.

Traffic and Air Pollution Increase a Childs Asthma Risk

Researchers surveyed the parents of 1,000 children living in 10 neighborhoods near areas with high traffic pollution located in Alameda County California, an area with pretty clean air, and found 12% of these children were diagnosed with asthma in the past year. There were significant increases in bronchitis symptoms and asthma in neighborhoods with worse traffic pollution. Living downwind of a major road increased pollution exposure. The study is published in the September 2004 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.