You can now read 10 articles a month for free. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Be Well

Omega-3 fatty acids may not boost thinking

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may not help boost memory and thinking skills in women as they age, according to a new study which contradicts previous studies.

Researchers at the University of Iowa studied more than 2,000 women ages 65 to 80 who had blood tests taken at the start of the study to measure their omega-3 levels and were divided into two groups based on their level. Afterward, they were given an annual exam for six years to test their memory, motor, and thinking skills.

Continue reading below

Omega-3, commonly found in foods like salmon and nuts, has been touted as a memory booster. However, the women with a high level of omega-3 in their blood were no more likely to score better on their first memory test than women with low levels of the nutrient. There was no difference in how both groups’ thinking skills declined over the six-year period, the study also found.

BOTTOM LINE: Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may not help boost memory and thinking skills in women as they age.

CAUTION: The study did not look at how omega-3 levels in the women changed over time and its association with thinking and memory skills.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Neurology, Sept. 25

Quitting smoking easier for users of social media

Smokers who engage in some online networking sites for support to quit may be more likely to successfully kick the habit, a new study found.

For one month, researchers at the University of Georgia analyzed social networking sites that are geared toward supporting members to quit smoking, including Inspire, iVillage, and Why Quit. Two hundred and fifty-two participants of the sites filled out a survey on their smoking habits before and after joining the network.

The more participants a site had, the more likely the members of the sites reported finding it easier to quit, the study found. Those who actively engaged on the site by sharing information, asking and answering questions, and discussing their experience were more likely to report quitting. Many of these members also remained cigarette-free longer.

The sense of a large support and community may help boost a person’s confidence to quit, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Smokers who engage in online networking sites for support to quit may be more likely to successfully kick the habit.

CAUTIONS: The study relied on self-reporting from members on the site so the findings may not be accurate.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of Communication, September issue

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week