Older folks who eat fish a couple of times a week may be doing their brains a favor.
New research suggests that fish, even in moderate amounts, helps stave off vascular disease that may ultimately lead to dementia.
“Previous studies, including work from our team in France and others in the U.S., reported protective associations of eating fish against cognitive decline and risk of dementia in later life,” study lead author Aline Thomas says.
Her new investigation found that among healthy adults aged 65 years or older, “two or more servings of fish per week may protect the brain against vascular lesions, before obvious signs of dementia appear,” Thomas says.
There was one caveat, however: A protective effect was only seen among seniors younger than 75.
In the Nov. 3 issue of “Neurology“, she and her colleagues reported the results of brain scans conducted among more than 1,600 men and women over 65 years old (average age 72). None of the participants had a prior history of dementia, stroke or heart disease.
3 telltale signs of vascular illness
Scans were examined for three telltale signs of vascular illness. The scans revealed that small brain lesions were present in 2% of the patients, brain cavities were present in 8% and fluid build-up in brain tissue was present in 6%.
Though all three can develop long before obvious signs of dementia, all have been linked to a long-term increased risk of dementia and an overall decline in mental acuity.
How much fish should you consume?
At the same time, participants were asked about their diets, and how much fish — including