Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Clinical Trial: Omega 3 Fatty Acid, Slowing the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease


Preliminary studies have shown a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in people consuming increased amounts of fish in their diets. Many of the health benefits of fish are attributed to the abundance of omega 3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega 3 fatty acid in the brain. Data from several animal models supports the hypothesis that DHA may be an effective treatment for AD by means of anti-amyloid, antioxidant, and neuroprotectant mechanisms.

This study is currently recruiting patients.


Personal Note: I have been feeding my mother fish and giving her Omega 3 Oil daily for a couple of years. I believe it is beneficial.



For a complete description of the trial including eligibility requirements go to the Clinical Trials Page

Official Title: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial Of The Effects Of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) In Slowing The Progression Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Study Type: Interventional

Study Design: Treatment, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Control, Parallel Assignment, Efficacy Study

Further study details as provided by National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Primary Outcome Measures:
Changes in rate of cognitive and functional decline measured by ADAS-Cog and CDR-SOB


Preliminary studies have shown a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in people consuming increased amounts of fish in their diets. Many of the health benefits of fish are attributed to the abundance of omega 3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega 3 fatty acid in the brain. Data from several animal models supports the hypothesis that DHA may be an effective treatment for AD by means of anti-amyloid, antioxidant, and neuroprotectant mechanisms.

In this study, 400 individuals with mild to moderate AD will participate at approximately 53 study sites throughout the US for 18 months. Participants will be randomized so that 60% will receive approximately 2 grams of DHA, divided into 4 capsules, 2 capsules taken twice a day, while 40% receive an identical placebo.

Potential participants will go to their study site for a screening visit, where eligibility is determined, and if accepted, for a baseline visit where cognitive status, behavioral status, functional status, and global severity of dementia will be assessed. Vital signs and biomarker labs will also be obtained. Subsequent visits will occur every three months for medication checks and, every 6 months, further assessments, physical exams, and labs.

Some participants will also take part in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and/or CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) sub-studies. For the MRI sub-study, scans will be done prior to beginning the study medication, and again after 18 months. Likewise, for the CSF sub-study, a lumbar puncture will be done prior to beginning the study medication, and again after 18 months.

Enrollment is restricted to individuals who consume no more than 200 mg of DHA per day, which is almost 300% of the average daily intake in an American diet. Individuals who take fish oil or omega 3 fatty acid supplements are also not eligible. Each visit will include completion of a very brief food frequency questionnaire to monitor dietary DHA levels.