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A Plasma Phospholipid Omega-3 Fatty Acid Index > 4% Prevents Cognitive Decline in Cognitively Healthy Subjects With Coronary Artery Disease

Vemuri B, Malik A, Asbeutah AAA, Welty FK (2019) Circulation 2019 November, 140, Issue Suppl_1 Abstract 10723 

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Introduction: Omega-3 fatty acids have shown benefit in cognitively impaired subjects, but the effect on cognitively healthy subjects is unclear. Effect of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), a risk factor for dementia, has not been reported.

Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that long-term eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to achieve an omega-3 fatty acid index ≥4% improves cognitive function in cognitively healthy subjects with CAD.

Methods: A total of 250 subjects with stable CAD were randomized to 3.36g EPA and DHA or none (control) for 30 months and had cognitive function assessed at baseline, 1 year and 30 months. Plasma phospholipid EPA, DHA and total fatty acids were measured by gas chromatography mass spectrometry and omega-3 fatty acid index calculated.

Results: Significant improvement in visual-motor coordination (P=.032) and memory and recall (P=0.024) occurred at 30 months in those randomized to omega-3 fatty acids. Those with an omega-3 fatty acid index ≥4% had improvement in visual-motor coordination (P = .027), verbal fluency (P = .001) and psychomotor speed (P=.002) at 30 months (Table). At 1 year and 30 months, nondiabetic subjects with an omega-3 fatty acid index ≥4% had improvement in both verbal fluency (P = .047 and P = .016, respectively) and psychomotor speed (P = .038 and P = .030, respectively) whereas diabetic subjects had improvement in verbal fluency and visual motor coordination only at 30 months. Subjects < and ≥64 years with an omega-3 fatty acid index ≥4% had less decline in verbal fluency whereas only those <64 years had additional improvement in psychomotor speed.

Conclusions: High dose EPA and DHA prevented cognitive decline in cognitively healthy CAD subjects with younger subjects, nondiabetic subjects and those achieving an omega-3 fatty acid index ≥4% having greatest benefit. These findings are especially important for CAD patients as CAD is a risk factor for dementia.


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