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Fish oil may counter nerve damage

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Fish oil may be on its way to becoming a multitasking miracle drug.

Here's the latest: Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London believe that omega-3 fatty acids can protect nerves from being injured and help regenerate the ones that are harmed, based on preclinical research with mice.

Omega-3s, of course, are found in fish oil. And beyond the latest finding, scientists are discovering that fish oil has the potential to solve plenty of health problems.

Just a few weeks ago, FierceBiotechResearch told you about Penn State scientists who derived a compound from fish oil that successfully targeted and killed leukemia cells in the spleen and bone marrow in mice, completely wiping out the disease. And fish oil has long been thought to offer cardiac health benefits. Naturally, these findings haven't been duplicated yet in people and they may not be. But further research is expected on all fronts, including follow-up research on using omega-3 fatty acids to protect or help regenerate nerves. If it is found to work in people, it could be an inexpensive and innovative way to treat folks injured in accidents. (From their previous efforts, the researchers have surmised that omega-3 compounds could also help treat neurological conditions.)

For the nerve study, researchers studied isolated mouse cell nerves and also their sciatic nerves. In the first situation, they stretched the cells or starved them of oxygen to simulate accident or injury-related damage, killing a large number of nerve cells. Interestingly, omega-3 fatty acids helped protect the nerve cells overall and decreased cell death. The same treatment also aided mice suffering from sciatic nerve injury, helping them to recover sooner and reducing post-damage muscle wasting.

Study findings are detailed in the Journal of Neuroscience.

- here's the release
- read the journal abstract

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