Hope fades that omega-3 pills can slow alzheimer's
Omega-3 pills promoted as boosting memory didn't slow mental and physical decline in older patients with Alzheimer's disease, a big disappointment in a multimillion-dollar government-funded study. "We had high hopes that we'd see some efficacy but we did not," said Dr. Joseph Quinn, an author of the $10 million study and a researcher at Oregon Health and Science University. The results with pills containing DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, highlight "the continued frustration over lack of effective interventions" for the memory-robbing disease, an editorial said, published with the study in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. DHA occurs naturally in the brain and is found in reduced amounts in people with Alzheimer's disease. Some smaller studies suggested that mental decline could be slowed or prevented by eating fish, the main dietary source for omega-3 fatty acids, or supplements like fish oil pills that contain fatty acids including DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help protect against heart disease and are being studied for effects on cancer and depression.
Study ties smoking in 50s, 60s to dementia
Middle-age smokers are far more likely than nonsmokers to develop dementia later in life, and those who smoke more than two packs a day are at more than double the risk, a new study reports. Researchers analyzed the data of 23,123 health plan members who participated in a voluntary exam and health behavior survey from 1978 to 1985, when they were 50 to 60 years old. Twenty-three years later, about one-quarter of the group, or 5,367, had dementia, including 1,136 with Alzheimer's disease and 416 with vascular dementia. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that pack-a-day smokers were 37 percent more likely than nonsmokers to develop dementia, and the risks went up sharply with increased smoking. Former smokers and those who smoked less than half a pack a day were no more likely to develop dementia than nonsmokers. The study was published online Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Issues cloud natural cholesterol solution
Americans trying to avoid cholesterol-lowering drugs are spending tens of millions of dollars each year on Chinese red yeast rice, a supplement found to lower LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. But the amount of the active ingredient in the supplement varies widely from one brand to another and possibly from batch to batch, a new study has found. And one in three tested products contained a substance that may be toxic to the kidneys. Authors of the study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, note that as supplements, the products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not standardized.
New York Times