CHICAGO — Older people who eat fish at least once a week may cut their risk of Alzheimer's disease by more than half, a study published Monday suggests.
The study adds to the evidence that diet may affect a person's chances of developing the mind-robbing disease that affects an estimated 4 million Americans.
Researchers found that people age 65 and older who had fish once a week had a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer's than those who never or rarely ate fish. The meals included tuna sandwiches, fish sticks and shellfish; the amounts eaten were not specified.
"This is very promising, but it's very early and really we need to have a lot more studies," said lead researcher Dr. Martha Clare Morris of Chicago's Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center.
The study involved 815 Chicago residents 65 and older. Follow-up tests nearly four years later found that 131 participants had developed Alzheimer's.
The researchers found an association between eating fish and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's even after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity and risk factors such as heart disease.
The study was published in the Archives of Neurology. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.