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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MGH to study fish oil compounds as treatment for depression

Two compounds in fish oil will be tested as treatments for depression by researchers in Boston and Los Angeles.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are recruiting volunteers for a randomized clinical trial that will compare two omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, against each other and against inactive pills in 300 adults who have major depression, the hospitals said. To be eligible, participants must not be taking anti-depressant medications, principal investigator Dr. David Mischoulon of Mass. General said in an e-mail interview.

Previous studies have suggested that the fatty acids, which are found in salmon, mackerel and tuna, might help reverse depression by affecting brain processes involved in regulating mood. The compounds have not been systematically tested before.

In this five-year trial, participants and researchers will not know who is taking an omega-3 supplement and who is not. People will be enrolled in the trial for eight weeks, after which they will be eligible for three months of free follow-up care from a physician in the study.

To learn more about the study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, call Mass. Generalís Depression Clinical and Research Program at (877) 552-5837 or Cedars-Sinai at (888) 233-2773.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 11:28 AM
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