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publicado em 11/09/2013 às 11h01:00
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Fish oil could prevent alcohol-related dementia

The study analyzed the brain cells of rats who had been exposed to large quantities of alcohol

 
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Omega-3 fish oil could help protect against alcohol-related dementia, according to a study presented at the 14th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Warsaw, Poland.

The study, conducted by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, analyzed the brain cells of rats who had been exposed to large quantities of alcohol.

In a previous study carried out by the same research team, it was discovered that moderate social drinking, defined as two alcoholic drinks a day for men and one for women, could reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

The research showed that small amounts of alcohol could improve the fitness of brain cells, by "toughening them up" to cope with stress later in life that could lead to dementia. However, high amounts of alcohol were found to "overwhelm" the cells, leading to inflammation and cell death.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, alcohol-related dementia - often referred to as Wernicke-Korsakoff's syndrome, is diagnosed in about 1 in 8 people with alcoholism. Studies have shown that the condition is most common in men between the ages of 45 and 65 with a long history of alcohol misuse.

For this most recent study, the researchers assessed adult rat brain cells that had been exposed to large quantities of alcohol - the equivalent to a human being four times over the legal alcohol limit for driving.

The cells were then compared with brain cells that had been exposed to the fish oil - omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - alongside the same large quantity of alcohol.

Results showed that the brain cells exposed to the combination of fish oil and alcohol showed as much as 95% less neuroinflammation and neuronal death in the brain cells, compared with the brain cells that were exposed to alcohol alone.

"We quantitate the neuronal death caused by the binge alcohol, and find that the presence of DHA significantly reduces or suppresses the neuronal death as much as 95%. The brain contains substantial levels of endogenous DHA in membranes that is reduced by the binge alcohol, and the supplementation prevents this loss. Also, there are certain critical 'neuroinflammatory' enzymatic steps that are thought to lead to the neuronal death, possibly by increasing oxygen free radicals, and while these are increased by the alcohol treatment, they are greatly reduced by the DHA cotreatment," sad Michael Collins, of Loyola University Chicago and study author.

Although the researchers say this study shows that fish oil has the potential to help preserve brain integrity in alcohol abusers, Prof. Collins says the best way to protect the brain is to stop drinking or cut down to moderate amounts.

Source: MEDICAL NEWS TODAY
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Omega-3    fish oil    alcohol-related dementia    dementia    14th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism    Loyola University Chicago    Michael Collins   
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