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Omega-3 shows promise as stroke treatment

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

August 24 2016. Findings from experimental research appearing on August 11, 2016 in PLOS ONE reveal a potential use for the omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as a protective therapy against damage caused by ischemic stroke.

Vadim S. Ten, MD, PhD, and colleagues at Columbia University Medical Center induced a stroke-like condition in ten-day-old mice followed by treatment with saline or an emulsion that contained EPA or DHA. A second dose was administered an hour later. Neurologic function was evaluated 24 hours and eight to nine weeks post-stroke.

After 24 hours, animals that received DHA had experienced a reduction in brain injury, as indicated by a decrease in cerebral infarct volume and improved reflex assessment compared to saline-treated animals. At eight to nine weeks, animals treated with EPA or DHA showed mildly improved spatial learning in comparison with the control group, however, navigational memory was significantly improved in DHA-treated mice. Animals that received DHA also exhibited increased mitochondrial DHA content. “Our findings suggest that injecting the omega 3 fatty acid DHA after a stroke-like event has the ability to protect brain mitochondria against the damaging effects of free radicals,” stated Dr Ten, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center.

“Clinical trials are needed to determine if administering lipid emulsions containing DHA shortly after a stroke-like brain injury offers the same neuroprotective effects in babies and adults, as seen in mice,” noted senior co-author Richard J. Deckelbaum, MD, CM, who is the Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition and Professor of Epidemiology and director of the Institute of Nutrition at CUMC. “If successful, such trials could lead to the development of a novel therapy for stroke in newborns, children, and adults, addressing a major medical need.”

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