Baseline Findings of PreventE4: A Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial Testing High Dose DHA in APOE4 Carriers before the Onset of Dementia

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J Prev Alzheimers Dis. 2023;10(4):810-820. doi: 10.14283/jpad.2023.77.


INTRODUCTION: Lower blood levels of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are correlated with worse cognitive functions, particularly among APOE ε4 carriers. Whether DHA supplementation in APOE ε4 carriers with limited DHA consumption and dementia risk factors can delay or slow down disease progression when started before the onset of clinical dementia is not known.

METHODS: PreventE4 is a double-blind, single site, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in cognitively unimpaired individuals with limited omega-3 consumption and dementia risk factors (n=368). Its objectives are to determine (1) whether carrying the APOE ε4 allele is associated with lower delivery of DHA to the brain; and (2) whether high dose DHA supplementation affects brain imaging biomarkers of AD and cognitive function.

RESULTS: 365 cognitively unimpaired individuals between 55 and 80 (mean age 66) were randomized to 2 grams of DHA per day or identically appearing placebo for a period of 2 years. Half the participants were asked to complete lumbar punctures at baseline and 6-month visits to obtain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The primary trial outcome measure is the change in CSF DHA to arachidonic acid ratio after 6 months of the intervention (n=181). Secondary trial outcomes include the change in functional and structural connectivity using resting state functional MRI at 24 months (n=365). Exploratory outcomes include the change in Repeatable Battery of the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status at 24 months (n=365).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings from PreventE4 will clarify the brain delivery of DHA in individuals carrying the APOE ε4 allele with implications for dementia prevention strategies. Trial was registered as NCT03613844.

PMID:37874103 | DOI:10.14283/jpad.2023.77

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