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NCCAM Omega-3 Fatty Acids Study To Commence In April

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring several clinical trials on omega-3 fatty acids, including one investigating their effect on major depression and bipolar disorder and another studying fatty acids' antiarrhythmic effects.

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Omega-3 studies

Finnish adults who ate fish less than once a week were 31% more likely to suffer mild to severe depressive symptoms than those who ate it more frequently, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in Chicago May 16. Antti Tanskanen, MD, University of Kuopio, Finland, et al., surveyed 3,403 adults about depressive symptoms and fish consumption frequency, leading researchers to conclude infrequent use could lead to low intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, increasing the risk of depression. An NIH-sponsored study examining the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in treating major depression and bipolar disorder currently is recruiting patients (1"The Tan Sheet" March 20, p. 12)

Qualified Omega-3 Fatty Acid Health Claim Proposed By Industry Group

A qualified health claim concerning the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and a reduced risk for coronary heart disease should be cleared by FDA, a joint industry group states in Nov. 21 comments to the agency.

NIMH St. John's wort trial, using Lichtwer Pharma product, to begin in October.

NIMH ST. JOHN's WORT TRIAL TO USE LICHTWER BOTANICAL in the medication administered to participants randomized to receive active tablets. Patient enrollment is scheduled to begin in October. The eight-week, three-arm clinical trial of Hypericum perforatum first will compare the safety and efficacy of the herbal ingredient against placebo in treating depression ("The Tan Sheet" June 23, 1997, p. 18). Pfizer's Zoloft (sertraline), an Rx selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, will be used in the third arm of the trial to document the study's sensitivity, although the trial will not have sufficient power to compare sertraline and St. John's wort.

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