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Greater cognitive flexibility associated with increased omega 3 levels

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension
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May 20 2015. An article published this month in Frontiers of Aging and Neuroscience reveals more cognitive flexibility and greater volume in an area of the brain known to contribute to this ability in association with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
 
The study included 40 cognitively intact older adults whose APOEe4 genetic variant put them at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Fasting plasma samples were analyzed for the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Neuropsychological tests measured executive function, including cognitive flexibility, which describes the ability to switch between tasks efficiently. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measured gray matter volumes in numerous regions of the brain, including the anterior cingulate area.
 
"We wanted to confirm that higher omega 3 fatty acids related to better cognitive flexibility, and we did in fact see that," reported lead author Marta Zamroziewicz. "We also wanted to confirm that higher omega 3 fatty acids related to higher volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, and we saw that. Finally, we were able to show that higher volume in the anterior cingulate cortex was an intermediary in the relationship between omega 3 fatty acids and cognitive flexibility."
 
"There's been some work to show that omega 3 fatty acids benefit cognitive flexibility, and there's also been work showing that cognitive flexibility is linked to this specific brain region, the anterior cingulate," she added. "But there's been very little work actually connecting these pieces."
 
"Recent research suggests that there is a critical link between nutritional deficiencies and the incidence of both cognitive impairment and degenerative neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease," commented lead researcher Aron Barbey. "Our findings add to the evidence that optimal nutrition helps preserve cognitive function, slow the progression of aging and reduce the incidence of debilitating diseases in healthy aging populations."

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