Alzheimer's disease and...

Good fat...

People who eat omega-3 fatty acids may have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s later in life say researchers from Aberdeen University. 120 over-64s were given written intelligence tests and gave blood samples for analysis. There was a clear link between better results and the presence of omega-3s, but only in those missing a particular gene thought to predispose to Alzheimer’s. In those with the gene present, the omega-3 fats made no difference to their test scores. Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat; good vegetarian sources include flaxseeds (linseeds), walnuts and their oils.

Bad fat...

People with high cholesterol levels in mid-life are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those with low cholesterol according to new research from California. From a group of 9,752 people (whose cholesterol had been measured in their 40s) 504 developed Alzheimer’s. The study revealed that those with high cholesterol levels in mid-life were 50 per cent more likely to develop this disease later in life.   

Whalley, L.J., Deary, I.J., Starr, J.M., Wahle, K.W., Rance, K.A., Bourne, V.J. and Fox, H.C. 2008. n-3 Fatty acid erythrocyte membrane content, APOE varepsilon4, and cognitive variation: an observational follow-up study in late adulthood. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 87 (2) 449-454.

Presentation: Midlife Serum Total Cholesterol and Risk of Alzheimer s Disease and Vascular Dementia Three Decades Later; Solomon, A., Kuopio, Finland, Kivipelto, M., Stockholm, Sweden, Zhou, J., Whitmer, R.A., Oakland, CA. American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting, Chicago, 16 April 2008.