Do omega-3s help elderly patients with memory complaints?

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  • Multidomain lifestyle interventions and omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (OPF), either alone or in combination, had no effect on improvement in cognitive decline during a follow-up period of 3 y.
  • An effective preventive strategy and target population remains to be determined.

Why this matters

  • No trials compared combination of specific drug and several lifestyle interventions with placebo for preventing cognitive decline.
  • The interventions evaluated are safe, inexpensive and applicable to real-world settings vs other prevention strategies like anti-amyloid drugs which are expensive to implement in clinical practice.

Study design

  • This randomized control trial evaluated 1525 participants with memory complaints (age, ≥70 y), randomly assigned to 4 interventions: multidomain+OPF, multidomain+placebo, only OPF or placebo.
  • Multidomain intervention comprised of training, physical activity, nutrition and 3 preventive consultations.
  • Funding: French Ministry of Health.

Key results

  • No difference observed in cognitive decline between placebo and multidomain +OPF (between group difference [BGD], 0.093; adjusted P, [aP]=.142), multidomain+placebo (BGD, 0.079; aP=.179) or only OPF (BGD, 0.011; aP=.812).
  • Incidence of at least 1 serious emerging adverse event was similar in multidomain+OPF (36%), multidomain+placebo (34%), OPF only (33%) and placebo (32%) groups.


  • Participants not blinded to multidomain intervention.
  • Study not designed to evaluate intervention effects in sub-groups.