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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Note

Air Date: Week of July 6, 2001

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Living on Earth’s Maggie Villiger reports a study that suggests eating fish may help reduce the risk of depression.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Coming up, lions and tigers and bears, oh my, on the loose in New York City! Well, maybe not lions and tigers, but there are bears in the 'burbs, at least. First this health note from Maggie Villiger.

VILLIGER: Numerous studies over the past decade have shown that eating fish can reduce the risk of heart disease. One such study, done several years ago, reported a significant correlation between fish consumption and decreased risk of heart disease in a group of more than 3,000 people in Finland. American and Finnish researchers recently decided to take a second look at this data. They found evidence that this same fish diet may also reduce the risk of depression. Scientists found that those who ate fish at least twice a week were 37% less likely to suffer from depression than those who didn't. Researchers caution these findings only suggest a correlation between more fish and less depression. More studies, they say, need to be done to determine whether eating fish has a direct effect on the condition. They also don't know how fish consumption might do this, but suspect it may involve Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in high concentrations in fish. That's because animal studies have found that altering the levels of these fish oils in the diet also alters the concentrations of certain neuro transmitters in the brain. So these same scientists plan to study the effect of increasing Omega-3 levels in patients with depression, including women with post-partum depression. That's this week's health note. I'm Maggie Villiger.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

[PAUSE]

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.

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