New study examines effects of fish oil on Alzheimer's Disease in - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New study examines effects of fish oil on Alzheimer's Disease in veterans

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A study out of UW Madison and the VA will determine if fish oil can slow down the effects of Alzheimer's Disease in veterans.  The study focuses on veterans because doctors say they have a higher risk for the disease than the general population because of a variety of other elevated risk factors including vascular diseases and complications, depression and head injury.  

"We're really looking for people who are eager and interested in being a part of helping us find solutions to if not stop Alzheimer's Disease, at least help delay its onset, so that we can have more good healthy years of thinking abilities and good interactions with family and friends, so that's really what our goal was," said Dr. Cynthia Carlsson, an associate professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics at UW Madison.  She is the lead researcher in the study.  

Dr. Carlsson explained that previous studies have shown fish oil to be beneficial for heart health, so this research is a natural next step.  "What we're trying to do is to see if we can help improve the blood flow to the brain and help reduce some of the early changes we see with Alzheimer's Disease," she said.  

The study is underway, but Dr. Carlsson and her team are still looking for more people to participate.  To qualify you have to be a veteran ages 50 to 75 years old, eligible for VA services and have normal memory and thinking.  Fish oil will not affect the brain if it's already deteriorating.  Participants also need to have a parental history of Alzheimer's and be willing to do nine visits to the VA or UW Hospital in Madison over 18 months.  

To enroll, reference the Brain Amyloid and Vascular Effect of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (BRAVE-EPA) Study when contacting Elena Beckman at elena.beckman@va.gov or (608) 256-1901 ext. 11199.  

Dr. Carlsson added that if the study shows positive effects from the fish oil on the veterans' brain health, more research could be done to see if fish oil would be beneficial for others at risk of Alzheimer's Disease too.  

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