Cerebral vascular disease involves damage to the blood vessels of the brain and is a risk factor for vascular dementia and stroke. Now, a new study by French researchers published in the journal Neurology suggests that there is a link between eating more fish and a lower risk of stroke .
The association between fish intake and blood vessel disease was stronger in people 65 to 69 years old compared to older people in the study, and there was no significant relationship among people older than 75 years .
Magnetic resonance analysis
The researchers analyzed MRI scans of 1,623 people over the age of 65 with no medical history of stroke, cardiovascular disease or dementia. The participants also completed a questionnaire about their eating habits .
The participants were divided into four groups, according to how often they ate fish: less than once a week, about once a week, two or three times a week, or four or more times a week. The researchers compared the number of signs of blood vessel disease among the people in each group .
Participants who said they ate more fish had fewer signs of MRI damage to their brains than those who ate it less often.
However, one must be cautious with the results, as observational studies like this one cannot identify cause and effect . While the researchers tried to control for other factors that might underlie differences in signs of stroke, it’s hard to definitively attribute them to the amount of fish in people’s diets. As the participants underwent a single brain scan and reported their eating habits at a given time, it is unclear how relevant the findings are to long-term brain health.