A good news for aging people


Dementia is not a specific disorder, but a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life (memory loss is an example). Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia (it accounts for 60 to 80 % of cases); vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke (a cerebral infarction), is the second most common dementia type. It is estimated that 46.8 million people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015 and this number will almost double every 20 years, to 131.5 million in 2050. If we consider that this disorder has a profound impact on those affected, but also on their family and caregivers, these numbers give us an idea of the size of the problem that means dementia. Because dementia has a negative impact at three levels, which are related among them: 1) the person with dementia, who experiences disability, impaired quality of life and reduced life expectancy; 2) the family and friends of the person with dementia, charged with his/her care, and 3) the whole society, with direct costs (including health care and lost productivity) and other social impacts harder to quantify.

Cerebral microinfarcts are very common in aging brains and are considered to be a risk factor of common neuropsychiatric disorders, including mild cognitive impairment, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So, treatment and prevention against microinfarcts could be an effective way to prevent and treat these disorders.

In the past decades, many studies have suggested that increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, is closely associated with a reduced risk to or has therapeutic effects on cognitive disorders. Given that omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of the central nervous system and serve as an important structural component to maintain cellular functional integrity, it has been interesting to investigate the potential effect of omega-3 fatty acids on alleviating brain microinfarcts. The outcomes of the first study conducted with this objective have been promising: omega-3 fatty acids have protective effects against microinfarcts, and thus improving cognitive impairment.

This demonstrates that in a brain rich in omega-3 fatty acids the consequences of microinfarcts are reduced in comparison with a “normal” brain and supports the application of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment or prevention in vascular dementia. A good news for aging people, and those with dementia and their caregivers.


Luo C, Ren H, Yao X, Shi Z, Liang F, Kang JX, et al. Enriched Brain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Confer Neuroprotection against Microinfarction. EBioMedicine. 2018 Jun 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Alzheimer’s Disease International: World Alzheimer ReporT 2015. The Global Impact of Dementia. An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends [Internet]. Londres: Alzheimer’s Disease International; 2015.

The psychological and emotional impact of dementia [Internet]. Londres: Alzheimer’s Society; 2018. 

What is dementia? [Internet]. Chicago: Alzheimer’s Association; 2018.