(HealthDay News) – There is no evidence of a protective effect for omega-3 fatty acids on age-associated cognition or the rate of cognitive decline in older dementia-free women, according to research published online Sept. 25 in Neurology.

Eric M. Ammann, of the University of Iowa in Sioux Falls, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 2,157 women aged ≥65 years with normal cognition who were followed for a median of 5.9 years. The authors sought to determine whether higher red blood cell (RBC) levels of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are protective against cognitive aging.

Overall, even after adjusting for demographic, clinical, and behavioral factors, the researchers found no significant differences in cognition or in the rate of cognitive changes over time between women with high RBC levels of DHA and EPA and those with lower RBC levels of these omega-3 fatty acids.

“There has been a lot of interest in omega-3s as a way to prevent or delay cognitive decline, but unfortunately, our study did not find a protective effect in older women,” Ammann said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries.

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