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Two or more servings of fish a week may ward off vascular brain disease

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Bordeaux, France — Older adults who eat at least two servings of fish a week may have a lower risk of developing vascular brain disease, results of a recent study out of France indicate.

Researchers at the University of Bordeaux surveyed more than 1,600 adults 65 and older about their diets, including how often they consume fish. The participants, who didn’t have dementia, a stroke or a history of cardiovascular disease, also underwent brain scans to determine the presence of three predictors of dementia and cognitive decline.

Among the participants who reported eating no fish, 31% showed markers of severe underlying vascular brain disease – a group of conditions that affect blood flow and blood vessels in the brain. By contrast, of those who ate three servings of fish a week, 23% had the markers. That percentage was 18 among those who ate fish four or more times a week.

 

Stronger associations were identified among younger participants. Of those 65-69, eating fish two to three times a week was “roughly equivalent, in the opposite direction, to the effect of having high blood pressure,” an American Academy of Neurology press release states. That health impact doubled when fish was eaten four or more times a week.

“Our results are exciting because they show something as simple as eating two or more servings of fish each week is associated with fewer brain lesions and other markers of vascular brain damage, long before obvious signs of dementia appear,” researcher Cecilia Samieri said in the release.

The study was published online Nov. 3 in the AAN journal Neurology.

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