The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Finding a link for the proposed beneficial effects of omega-3 on Alzheimer’s disease

    I usually shy away from animal data. After all, there’s a long road between the lab and the medicine chest.

    However, in light of my nominee for CAM of the year (see 12/31/07 posts) the results published by researchers from California and Osaka are interesting.

    Here are the highlights from the NewsWise article.

    • Omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increased the production of LR11 (lipoprotein receptor 11) in rat and mice studies.
    • LR11 is a protein found at reduced levels in patients with Alzheimer’s.
    • LR11 can destroy the protein that forms the “plaques” (see the black lines in the photo) associated with the disease.
    • Even at low doses, DHA increased LR11 levels in rat nerve fibers.
    • Dietary DHA increased LR11 in brains of rats or older mice that had been bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
    • The benefits of DHA were not limited to nonhuman animal cells. There was a direct impact on human nerves in cell cultures as well.

    The bottom line?
    Based on these positive laboratory results, the National Institutes of Health is conducting a large-scale study of DHA in patients with established Alzheimer’s disease. Lead author, Dr. Greg Cole believes, “it may be too late in the disease to help these patents, but it’s a first step that will eventually lead to research in earlier stages of the disease.”

    In fact, an earlier study also concluded that the potential for omega-3 might be in people with mild dementia.

    More on LR11 here.

    12/27/07 14:06 JR

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