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Seafood May Reduce Your Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease: Here's Why

First Posted: Feb 02, 2016 09:30 PM EST

New findings published in JAMA show that eating seafood could actually benefit older adults at risk of dementia--contrary to previous beliefs and regardless of mercury levels.

During this recent study, researchers examined almost 300 participants involved in the Memory and Aging Project (MAP); these participants had a mean age of about 90 years and had died between November 2004 and November 2014. They had also completed at least one dietary assessment prior to death and a brain autopsy was performed.

While researchers found that people who ate seafood at least once a week had higher levels of mercury in their brains than those who ate less, they were also less likely to carry genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, such as a factor called ApoE4. Close to 30 percent of the general population has at least one copy of the ApoE4 variant--which increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's when compared to those who do not have the variant, according to TIME. About 23 percent of older participants in the study also had at least one copy of ApoE4.  

"Everybody's saying seafood has so many health benefits, but everybody's afraid of the mercury," said lead study author Martha Clare Morris, professor of nutritional epidemiology at Rush University in Chicago, via Health Day."We saw absolutely no evidence that higher levels of mercury in the brain were associated with any of the neuropathologies associated with dementia."

Of course, the findings in no way suggest that eating seafood will prevent your risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, they reassure that mercury from seafood will not increase Alzheimer's risk--at least in this study. 

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