Reaction to last week’s study linking omega-3 with prostate cancer have been vociferous and near-unanimous in condemning its methods and conclusions. Here Alan Ruth, PhD, and CEO of the Irish Health Trade Association (IHTA), explains why that condemnation was justified and not just sourced from an industry concerned with defending its own patch. Read full article here.
Obviously, the big news of this past week in the world of omega-3s is a study published claiming that “omega-3s cause prostate cancer.” I have had friends and family call, text, stop me in person, and email their concerns about what is clearly a headline grabbing ploy by the press to make a huge deal out of poorly designed manuscript masquerading as a scientific publication.
First of all, the study did not look at omega-3 supplementation, but was a look at if there is an association between Vitamin E and selenium and cancers (including lung, colorectal, and prostate). The manuscript was done looking retrospectively at people with prostate cancer and what their omega-3 levels were at a single point in time. When I did a study looking at omega-3 levels and documented suicide, I was very careful not to conclude that low omega-3 levels CAUSE suicide because that would not be a true statement. Low omega-3 levels measured were ASSOCIATED with a 62% increase risk they came from a suicide, but there is absolutely NO WAY POSSIBLE to conclude a causal relationship. These researchers and the press that followed obviously did not feel the need to adhere to such ethical parsing of words in order to grab headlines. Come on, the study showed a possible increase of prostate cancer had a confidence interval of 0-192%!!!!
I am always amazed, though I’m not sure why, when the press blow things out of proportion about a study demonstrating their complete lack of understanding of scientific studies. I could go into details for a long time, but let me just say clearly that this case-control study was not designed to look at the question in which the researchers draw their incorrect conclusions. In the worst case, there may be an association between higher omega-3 levels and prostate cancer, but to conclude that omega-3s cause prostate cancer? Really??? Given that the study was a single snapshot looking at if someone has prostate cancer and what their omega-3 blood level was at that moment, it is completely reasonable to state that prostate cancer causes higher omega-3s in the blood. Or that people with prostate cancer increased their fish or supplement intake because it is fairly well known that omega-3s may be helpful in cancer due to their anti-inflammatory properties. But that is not what catches headlines.
Not sure which argument you might want to use, but the biggest one is that it was a study not designed to look at this question and the investigators completely drew conclusions from data that don’t support their conclusions. So which argument do you want? You mean besides that it is a poorly designed evaluation of data from a totally different study never designed to look at prostate cancer and omega-3s and should have never been published? Or the part where countries and societies that have the most fish intake actually have the lowest rates of all cancers including prostate? Or that there is specific research designed to actually look at that question and everyone of those studies shows decreased rates of cancer? Or that this same study also showed that there are higher rates of prostate cancer in nonsmokers and nondrinkers (so should we recommend everyone drink, smoke, and stay away from fish?)?
One rebuttal can be found at: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Experts-slam-omega-3-link-to-prostate-cancer-as-overblown-scaremongering. A more scientific-oriented review can be found at http://examine.com/blog/fish-oil-and-your-prostate .
What we do know is that omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and well known and documented to decrease overall and cardiovascular mortality, the incidence of cancer, heart disease, and have a positive benefit on brain health especially in the absence of brain health. What is really sad is how many people will decrease their intake of fish or stop their supplementation because of ridiculous studies/reporting like this. How much additional suffering will occur because of it?
One of the biggest problems is persuading people to eat more healthy fat in their diet. Fat has unfortunately been demonized by mass media, and even by medical practitioners, who claim that fat is bad for our health. That is only half the truth. Bad fats will make us gain weight and lead to many common disorders like high blood pressure but good fats are a vital part of our health. Read full article.
A survey shows that depression and other psychiatric disorders are common after a head injury.
Previous research has suggested that depression may be a complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the issue has not been extensively investigated. Researchers at the University of Iowa compared 91 patients with TBI with 27 patients who suffered multiple trauma, but without any nervous system involvement. They found that a third of the patients had clinical depression during the year after their injury. This was far more frequent than in the control group. Those with TBI and depression were more likely to have a history of mood and anxiety disorders than those who had TBI without depression.
Of the patients with TBI and depression, 77 per cent also reported anxiety and 57 per cent exhibited aggressive behavior. Major depression was also linked to poorer social functioning six and twelve months after the injury. Brain scans also revealed a reduced level of gray matter in this group.
The weight loss benefits associated with omega-3 have been well-documented in the past, but can it actually deter our cravings for junk food? Researchers from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Aging and Chronic Disease examined 185 research papers dealing with fish oil’s effect on weight loss and neurogenesis, the process that generates nerve cell growth. Read full article.
Increased intakes of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may counter the alleviate oxidative stress in older people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), says a new study from Malaysia. Read full article.
The eyes may be the window to the soul, but researchers are finding they also provide a view into the brain that could help detect neurological damage from bomb blasts, sports concussions and a wide range of diseases, including Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Read full article.
U.S. researchers say a Mediterranean diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in red meat and dairy may help reduce the risk of “cognitive impairment.”
The study, outlined in the latest issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology’s official journal, examined the mental abilities of more than 17,000 people consuming varying diets. Researchers found that those subjects who followed a Mediterranean diet more regularly experienced a decreased risk of memory loss of as much as 19%.
The key to the Mediterranean diet is omega-3 fatty acids found most notably in fish oil and other marine and plant oils. The potential memory-saver is also found is flax seed, walnuts and pulses.
A multicenter study led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows that mild traumatic brain injury after blast exposure produces inflammation, oxidative stress and gene activation patterns akin to disorders of memory processing such as Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings were recently reported in the online version of the Journal of Neurotrauma. Read full article.
In the aftermath of traumatic events, such as the Boston Marathon bombing or the explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, it’s not only those with the most serious wounds who need treatment. It’s just as important for those with seemingly minor physical injuries, or psychological trauma, to get medical care too. Read full article.
Families often ask why is their loved one in coma after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A patient will be in coma if they are in a state of “unarousable unresponsiveness.”‘ When the patient opens their eyes and has a Glascow Coma Scale of eight or more, they will be out of coma. Read full article.
BOSTON — The highest levels of plasma phospholipid omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), as measured in >2500 older adults initially without coronary heart disease or a history of stroke, predicted the lowest mortality in the observational, prospective Cardiovascular Health Study(CHS). Read full article.
Screening levels of vitamin E in the blood could help to improve the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to new research that suggests the vitamin may also aid in protection. Consistent with previous research findings, the new study – led by Francesca Mangialasche from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden – reports that both AD and MCI patients had lower blood plasma levels of different vitamin E isomers, compared to controls. Read full article: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Vitamin-E-status-may-be-reliable-biomarker-for-Alzheimer-s-Study
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) reduces symptoms of depression in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), new research suggests. A randomized controlled trial conducted by investigators at Lakehead University and St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay, Canada, showed that compared with a wait-list control group, the MBCT group experienced a significantly greater reduction in total and somatic depressive symptoms. The findings were presented at EPA 2013: 21st European Congress of Psychiatry. According to study investigator Michel Bédard, PhD, TBI can be a life-changing event: Depression is common, and pharmacologic and other interventions may not relieve depressive symptoms. Previous research conducted by the team “strongly suggested” that mindfulness-based interventions for depression in TBI all showed strong effect sizes, so the “logical next step was to conduct a randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of MCBT in this patient population.”
When it comes to your health, inflammation is public enemy number one. The more doctors learn about it, the more they realize just how destructive it really is. That’s the bad news. The good news is you can reduce the inflammation inside your body by getting smart about what you eat. No matter what type of health problem you’re facing, chances are, it began with inflammation. This internal irritation causes our whole body to break down. Read full article.
Supplements of omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may improve memory and reaction times for healthy young people, says a new study that could ‘translate into far-reaching benefits’… Read Full Article.
TORONTO – Hockey accounts for almost half of all traumatic brain injuries among Canadian children and teens taking part in team sports, says a study, which also looks at how and why kids are getting hurt. Read full article.
A sad statement about the care of a brain injured patient. Daniel’s mom, Dr. Yvette Priesler, a nutrition-trained physician, has become a good friend as we have worked together to get Daniel proper nutrition and care that has been ridiculously lacking. If an M.D. can’t get proper care for her son, where does that leave other families? Read Patrick Donohue’s op-ed published by FoxNews. Patrick is founder of the The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation. Read full article.
A combination of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids may boost the pigment in the retina and help people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), says new data from Germany. Read full article.