A cerebrovascular disease is a group of many conditions that affect the blood circulation and blood vessels in the brain. It may lead to physical disability and increase the risk of cognitive issues.
Some lifestyle changes can help lower the risk, such as stopping smoking, being more physically active, and following a healthy and balanced diet.
A recent study published in the Neurology journal suggests a link between consuming fish and reduced levels of abnormalities in the brain associated with cerebrovascular disease.
In this project, scientists from the University of Bordeaux in France collected data of 1,623 people from 1999 to 2001. The average age was 72.3 years. People were excluded from the research if they had a history or were diagnosed with cardiovascular issues, stroke, or dementia diagnosis.
The scientists used brain MRI scans to check for the presence of 3 markers linked to cerebrovascular disease. These include enlarged perivascular spaces, infarcts, and white matter abnormalities.
Each of these elements can help predict how cognitive decline linked to cerebrovascular disease progresses.
At the same time, the authors used a brief questionnaire to measure the weekly consumption of different foods, including cereals, legumes, veggies, fruits, fish, and meat.
The analysis suggested an association between reduced levels of markers for cerebrovascular disease and high intake of fish. More specifically, those people who ate fish 2 or more times each week had lower levels of markers than those who ate less fish.
The strength of the link varied by age. It was strongest in younger people between 65 and 69 years old, while the link was not statistically significant in people over 75 years old.
After adjusting certain variables, such as the consumption of food items, brain volume, education levels, physical activity, sex, and age, the results were similar.
According to the authors, this could be an important and interesting study as it suggested that fish consumption may benefit the brain even before more obvious symptoms occur.
The strength was quite significant as well since it was relatively similar to hypertension, which is known as a major risk factor for the condition.
Nevertheless, the study had several drawbacks. A major limitation is that this is a cross-sectional observational study. This means we may not establish causality between reduced risk of cerebrovascular disease and high consumption of fish. Further research should be done to verify this association.