Results from two large studies using the supplement algal DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, were recently announced.
One trial showed no evidence for benefit in the studied population while the other trial showed a positive result on one test of memory and learning. However, that study was in healthy older adults, not people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The first trial, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) lasted 18 months and was conducted in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. The other trial was conducted by Martek Biosciences Corporation (Martek), the primary company that makes algal DHA for supplementation.
Martek’s trial was six months, and the compound was tested in healthy people to see its effect on “age related cognitive decline.” Both studies used Martek’s algal DHA.
The results of the NIA trial show no evidence for benefit in the studied population. The Martek trial showed a positive result on one test of memory and learning, but that study was in healthy older adults, not people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The results need confirmation, as is standard scientific practice.
“These two studies – and other recent Alzheimer’s therapy trials – raise the possibility that treatments for Alzheimer’s must be given very early in the disease for them to be truly effective,” said William Thies, PhD, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association.
“For that to happen, we need to get much better at early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, in order to test therapies at earlier stages of the disease and enable earlier intervention.”
Source: Alzheimer’s Association