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Why Omega-3s Are Good For Your Brain

05/21/2015 07:14 EDT | Updated 05/21/2015 07:59 EDT

A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found that for adults at risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's, consuming more omega-3 fatty acids could have a positive effect of cognitive flexibility.

Looking at 40 cognitively healthy older adults between the ages of 65 and 75 who were carriers of the gene variant APOE e4, which is associated with risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's, researchers tested participants' cognitive flexibility, measured blood levels of the fatty acids EPA and DHA, and did MRI brain imaging.

Their findings: that those who consumed higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids demonstrated greater cognitive flexibility -- which refers to the ability to switch between tasks -- and had a larger anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain that is associated with cognitive flexibility.

The study was published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

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