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Relationship between n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

This study investigates whether lower levels of total n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on erythrocyte membranes (the semi-permeable outer portion of the red blood cell) are associated with cognitive impairment in patients over 60 who have depression.

Several recent studies have found that total n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) derived from diets are associated with major depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Most previous studies have used diet and/or plasma levels to measure PUFA components. Erythrocyte membrane levels provide a better indication of status.

The study will enrol patients aged over 60 with major depression from outpatient clinics at Taipei City Hospital in Taiwan. Participants will receive general medical assessments, including depression-related information, eating habits and a series of cognitive assessments. Blood samples will be assayed for individual fatty acids and other parameters related to cognition. Associations between cognitive functioning and level of n-3 PUFAs will be investigated.

The research was carried out by Dr Chih-Chiang Chiu a Consultant Psychiatrist at Taipei City Hospital in Taiwan as part of a PhD programme supervised by Dr Robert Stewart.

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