. Diet and Risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Is Lifestyle Important?. JAMA Neurol. 2014 Jul 14; PubMed.

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  1. This is the first large, prospective study of dietary fatty acid intake in ALS and a much more robust confirmation of the association seen in two prior retrospective case-control studies (Veldink et al., 2007; Okamoto et al., 2007). The authors also commented on the recent, apparently contradictory finding by Yip et al. (Yip et al., 2013) that showed that dietary eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a marine-derived fatty acid, did not improve survival in the SOD1 ALS mouse model. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is the different kinds of fatty acids used. The marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids (like EPA) used in the Yip paper were only marginally significant in the Fitzgerald JAMA Neurology study; Fitzgerald and colleagues found that plant-derived fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid were more effective. However, as we have learned from the Alzheimer's experience with omega-3 supplementation, even a strong epidemiological association may not translate into an effective treatment.

    References:

    . Intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E reduces the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;78(4):367-71. Epub 2006 Apr 28 PubMed.

    . Lifestyle factors and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a case-control study in Japan. Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jun;19(6):359-64. PubMed.

    . The omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid accelerates disease progression in a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61626. Print 2013 PubMed.

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  1. Heart-Healthy Fatty Acids May Stave Off ALS