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Delivery of Essential Fatty Acids to the Brain


The goal of this project is to identify whether carrying the APOE 4 allele, the strongest genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease, is associated with reduced delivery of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, to the brain in cognitively healthy older individuals. This information will help identify the target population that could benefit from DHA supplementation to prevent cognitive decline.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 80 Years All Yes
July 1, 2018
September 30, 2024

  • At least one dementia risk factor (obesity, limited education, hypertension, hyperlipidemia)
  • Mini-Mental State Examination of 25 or greater
  • Logical Memory II delayed recall score of 6 to 18

  • Diagnosis of dementia
  • Use of omega-3 preparations in the past 3 months
  • More than 200 mg/day of DHA consumption
  • Use of donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine, and/or memantine
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Undergoing active cancer treatment or having a serious disease such as HIV
  • Participation in a clinical trial in the past 30 days
  • Use of anticoagulants such as Plavix or Coumadin or newer generation blood thinners

Randomized clinical trials have yielded mixed results on the effect of DHA supplementation on cognitive outcomes. This study asks whether DHA gets into the brain in sufficient amounts through the use of supplements, and whether APOE genotype affects the penetration of DHA into the brain. This trial will also test the effect of DHA supplementation on changes in brain structural and functional connectivity and changes in cognition after 2 years of taking supplements. Participants will take a supplement of DHA or placebo.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
USC Keck School of Medicine
Los Angeles California 90033 Recruiting Hussein Yassine

University of Southern California

  • Huntington Medical Research Institutes

Name Role Affiliation
Hussein Yassine, MD Principal Investigator University of Southern California

Name Phone Email
Isabella Cordova, BS 323-489-4896
Betty Chung 323-489-4896


Delivery of Essential Fatty Acids to the Brain