Cognitive protection and brain entropy changes from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplement in late-life depression: A 52-week randomized controlled trial

Chemin Lin, Shwu-Hua Lee, Chih-Mao Huang, Yu-Wen Wu, You-Xun Chang, Ho-Ling Liu, Shu-Hang Ng, Ying-Chih Cheng, Chih-Chiang Chiu*, Shun-Chi Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Late-life depression (LLD) is associated with risk of dementia, yet intervention of LLD provides an opportunity to attenuate subsequent cognitive decline. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) supplement is a potential intervention due to their beneficial effect in depressive symptoms and cognitive function. To explore the underlying neural mechanism, we used resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) before and after omega-3 PUFAs supplement in older adults with LLD. Methods A 52-week double-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted. We used multi-scale sample entropy to analyze rs-fMRI data. Comprehensive cognitive tests and inflammatory markers were collected to correlate with brain entropy changes. Results A total of 20 patients completed the trial with 11 under omega-3 PUFAs and nine under placebo. While no significant global cognitive improvement was observed, a marginal enhancement in processing speed was noted in the omega-3 PUFAs group. Importantly, participants receiving omega-3 PUFAs exhibited decreased brain entropy in left posterior cingulate gyrus (PCG), multiple visual areas, the orbital part of the right middle frontal gyrus, and the left Rolandic operculum. The brain entropy changes of the PCG in the omega-3 PUFAs group correlated with improvement of language function and attenuation of interleukin-6 levels. Limitations Sample size is small with only marginal clinical effect. Conclusion These findings suggest that omega-3 PUFAs supplement may mitigate cognitive decline in LLD through anti-inflammatory mechanisms and modulation of brain entropy. Larger clinical trials are warranted to validate the potential therapeutic implications of omega-3 PUFAs for deterring cognitive decline in patients with late-life depression.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume351
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Omega-3 PUFAs
  • Fish oil
  • Multi-scale entropy
  • Resting-state fMRI
  • Cognitive decline
  • Late-life depression

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