Seafood has long been considered a “brain food” and features in various diets aiming to promote cognitive function. Unsurprisingly, there is also research being done on whether seafood could help stave off, slow, or prevent age-related memory loss and mental decline among seniors at risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia in general. A recent study used 915 participants with an average age of 81.4, none of whom had signs of dementia at the start of the study and followed for five years with annual testing for episodic memory, working memory, semantic memory, visuospatial ability, and perceptual speed.
No significant difference was found in rate of decline for episodic memory, working memory, or visuospatial ability. The group that ate more seafood had reduced rates of decline in semantic memory and in perceptual speed. The decline reduction was stronger among individuals who had the APOE- ε4 gene, which increases Alzheimer’s risk. The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood are known to help slow or prevent dementia and this study suggests that the effects center around semantic memory and perceptual speed.