Scientists study fish oil diet in bid to cut heart attack risks

12/16/04

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh will examine the way a fish-rich diet helps maintain a low risk of heart attack amongst Eskimos, in the first study of its kind to be carried out in the city. Investigators hope that the results would help to guide the development of future heart treatments.

Researcher Dr Jehangir Din explained: "We know that fish oils benefit the heart, but we don't know how exactly how this process works. We intend to look at the action of both fish oil supplements and increased fish in the diet on the way the blood vessels of the body function. Heart attacks are caused by clots blocking inflamed arteries, so we will look at the effects of fish oils on inflammation and clot breakdown."

The study, which is already underway, will draw in men to help them study the effects of fish oils on the body's blood vessels. The researchers are appealing for 20 healthy men aged 25-40 who smoke at least ten cigarettes a day and 30 life-long non-smokers aged 40-75 to join the study, which is based at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The study is due to end in the summer of 2005.

Dr Din said: "We need smokers for this study because we know smoking can impair blood vessel function and increase inflammation, and we are interested to learn if fish oil supplementation can counteract these effects."

Those interested in volunteering for the study should contact Dr Din on 44-131-242-1850 or email him at jdin@staffmail.ed.ac.uk. Travel and other expenses will be paid.

The study is funded by the British Heart Foundation. Iain Lowis, Director of the British Heart Foundation in Scotland, said: "There is consistent research evidence that supports the benefits of eating oily fish and its protection against cardiovascular disease. We welcome this further study at the University of Edinburgh, which has the potential to improve the future treatment of heart patients."

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