A diet rich in fish oil may help slow down progression and relieve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, a new study on mice has claimed.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common disease underlying memory problems and dementia in the elderly. One of the invariable pathologies in AD is degeneration of cholinergic synapses in brain cortex and hippocampus.
Current pharmacological interventions are limited to a few drugs that alleviate symptoms but do not slow down the underlying disease processes. It is generally accepted that lifestyle and particularly dietary habits influence mental health, and prevalence and progression of AD.
Numerous epidemiological studies have shown profitable effects of dietary intake of especially fish oil on cognitive decline during ageing and dementia.
For the study, researchers from Institute of Physiology CAS in Czech Republic devised several lipid-based diets aimed at slowing down progression and relieving symptoms of AD.
Short-term (3 weeks) feeding of young adult mouse model of AD with experimental diets containing fish oil or stigmasterol reversed the decrease in responsiveness of hippocampal muscarinic receptors to acetylcholine compared to their non-transgenic littermates.
Only fish oil based diet enriched with nutrients supporting neuroprotection (Fortasyn diet) increased in addition the density of muscarinic receptors and cholinergic synapses in the hippocampus.
These findings yield important proof-of-principle evidence that regular intake of specific dietary components may help to prevent some of the key early functional changes that take place in the Alzheimer brain, researchers said. The findings support viability of the dietary approach in AD, they said.
The study was published in the journal Current Alzheimer Research.

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