Dietary intake of fish and the ω-3 fatty acids have been associated with lower risk of Alzheimer disease and stroke.
To examine whether intakes of fish and the ω-3 fatty acids protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Prospective cohort study.
Geographically defined Chicago, Ill, community.
Residents, 65 years and older, who participated in the Chicago Health and Aging Project.
Main Outcome Measure
Change in a global cognitive score estimated from mixed models. The global score was computed by summing scores of 4 standardized tests. In-home cognitive assessments were performed 3 times over 6 years of follow-up.
Cognitive scores declined on average at a rate of 0.04 standardized units per year (SU/y). Fish intake was associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in mixed models adjusted for age, sex, race, education, cognitive activity, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and total energy intake. Compared with a decline rate in score of −0.100 SU/y among persons who consumed fish less than weekly, the rate was 10% slower (−0.090 SU/y) among persons who consumed 1 fish meal per week and 13% slower (−0.088 SU/y) among persons who consumed 2 or more fish meals per week. The fish association was not accounted for by cardiovascular-related conditions or fruit and vegetable consumption but was modified after adjustment for intakes of saturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fats. There was little evidence that the ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were associated with cognitive change.
Fish consumption may be associated with slower cognitive decline with age. Further study is needed to determine whether fat composition is the relevant dietary constituent.Published online October 10, 2005 (doi:10.1001/archneur.62.12.noc50161).