In this study, researchers from France sought to test the relation between consumption of fish (rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids) or meat (rich in saturated fatty acids), and risk of dementia.
The team used data from a large study, which involved 1674 people (68 years or over) without dementia, who were living at home in southwestern France.
Their frequency of consumption of meat and fish or seafood was recorded.
|Participants who ate fish once a week had a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia.|
|British Medical Journal|
Participants were followed up 2, 5, and 7 years later.
The team found that participants who ate fish or seafood at least once a week had a significantly lower risk of being diagnosed as having dementia in the 7 subsequent years.
When the education level of the subjects was taken into account, the association was slightly reduced. This suggested that the "protective" effect was partly explained by higher education of regular consumers.
The researchers found no significant association between meat consumption and risk of dementia.
Furthermore, fatty acids contained in fish oils may reduce inflammation in the brain and have a specific role in brain development and regeneration.
Dr Pascale Barberger-Gateau's team concluded, "Healthy dietary habits acquired in infancy could be associated with achievement of higher education".
"Highly educated people might also adhere more closely to dietary recommendations on fish consumption."