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Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Congestive Heart Failure in Older Adults FREE

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The full report is titled “Circulating Long-Chain ω-3 Fatty Acids and Incidence of Congestive Heart Failure in Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study. A Cohort Study.” It is in the 2 August 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 155, pages 160-170). The authors are D. Mozaffarian, R.N. Lemaitre, I.B. King, X. Song, D. Spiegelman, F.M. Sacks, E.B. Rimm, and D.S. Siscovick.

Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(3):I-29. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-155-3-201108020-00001
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common problem in which the heart cannot function as it should. It can be caused by blockages in the blood supply to the heart (coronary artery disease), and it is the leading reason for hospitalization in people older than 65 years. Fatty acids are found in oils and other fats in our diets. Although some fatty acids (for example, omega-3 fatty acids) might be helpful in preventing coronary artery disease, less is known about their effect on CHF.

Why did the researchers do this study?

To see whether the amounts of certain fatty acids in the blood are associated with the development of CHF.

Who was studied?

2735 men and women aged 65 years or older who agreed to have repeated interviews and examinations over many years to identify risk factors for various diseases.

How was the study done?

The researchers examined the participants, asked about their dietary habits, and obtained blood samples to measure fatty acids. They then followed the participants for several years to see whether CHF developed.

What did the researchers find?

Participants who had higher total levels of omega-3 fatty acids at the start of the study were less likely than persons with lower levels to develop CHF during follow-up. Only certain individual fatty acids (for example, eicosapentaenoic acid) seemed to be associated with less frequent CHF.

What were the limitations of the study?

Blood levels of fatty acids were only measured once, and it is possible that they changed significantly throughout the study. In addition, this kind of study cannot tell us whether the fatty acids or other unidentified factors were the cause of the good health effects that were observed.

What are the implications of the study?

More research is needed to see whether certain fatty acids can be used to reduce the risk for CHF.





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