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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  • Recent Comments

    Omega-3 to treat depression in Parkinson’s disease

    Researchers from the Universidade Federal do Paraná in Brazil report that Parkinson’s disease “patients taking fish oil, with or without antidepressants, presented improvement in depressive symptoms.”

    First, the details.

    • 31 patients with Parkinson’s disease and major depression were assigned to take fish oil (containing omega-3 fatty acids) or mineral oil capsules for 3 months.
    • Both groups were further divided into groups that took an antidepressant medication or no antidepressant treatment.
    • Neither the researchers nor patients knew the treatment given (double blind).

    And, the results.

    • Among 29 patients who completed the study, those supplemented with fish oil showed significant improvement based on the results of depression scores used by the researchers.
    • The improvement occurred regardless of whether they also took an antidepressant drug.
    • To prove that the patients took the fish oil, high pressure liquid chromatography testing showed increased omega-3 fatty acid in the red blood cell membrane.

    The bottom line?
    Dividing 4 different treatments among 29 patients leads to a small group from which to draw conclusions. It’s one of the most commonly overlooked shortcomings of CAM research.

    That said, the authors concluded “Parkinson’s disease patients taking fish oil, with or without antidepressants, presented improvement in depressive symptoms.” The results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids have an antidepressant effect, which can be used alone or as adjuvant with other antidepressant medication.

    They also acknowledge that the results require replication in a larger group of patients.

    5/26/08 13:50 JR

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