Background: Indications have been seen of a protective effect of fish consumption and the intake of n-3 fatty acids on cognitive decline. However, studies are scarce and results inconsistent.
Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the associations between fish consumption, the intake of the n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish and other foods, and subsequent 5-y cognitive decline.
Design: Data on fish consumption of 210 participants in the Zutphen Elderly Study, who were aged 70-89 y in 1990, and data on cognitive functioning collected in 1990 and 1995 were used in the study. The intake of EPA and DHA (EPA+DHA) was calculated for each participant. Multivariate linear regression analysis with multiple adjustments was used to assess associations.
Results: Fish consumers had significantly (P = 0.01) less 5-y subsequent cognitive decline than did nonconsumers. A linear trend was observed for the relation between the intake of EPA+DHA and cognitive decline (P = 0.01). An average difference of approximately 380 mg/d in EPA+DHA intake was associated with a 1.1-point difference in cognitive decline (P = 0.01).
Conclusions: A moderate intake of EPA+DHA may postpone cognitive decline in elderly men. Results from other studies are needed before definite conclusions about this association can be drawn.