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Research & Development In Brief

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Omega-3 fatty acids could delay psychosis: Omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce the chances of at-risk children and young adults developing a full-blown psychotic disorder, according to a study in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. The study found participants aged 13 to 25 years who were at risk of psychosis and who took 220 mg of fish oil daily for 12 weeks were 22.6 percent less likely to progress to full psychosis than participants who took a placebo. Of the 41 participants who took fish oil, only two - 4.9 percent - became psychotic, compared to 11 - 27.5 percent - of the 40 who took a placebo, according to the study, which continued for a year. "The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent or at least delay the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to anti-psychotics for the prodromal phase," say researchers led by Paul Amminger at the Oxygen Research Center, Center for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Australia. They add that stigmatization and adverse effects - including metabolic changes, sexual dysfunction and weight gain - linked to anti-psychotics often are not acceptable to young people, which elevates the importance of the study findings. The researchers also found the omega-3 group had significantly lower syndrome scale scores - positive, negative, general and total

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