A double-blinded, randomized trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health will examine the effect of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil in young adults aged 12 to 25 who are at risk for severe psychiatric disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids, which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are necessary for normal brain function, and have been recently studied as possible therapies for psychiatric disorders in addition to being widely recognized as helpful in depression, arrhythmias and other conditions.
The trial will be administered by researchers at Zucker Hillside Hospital's Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program in Glen Oaks, New York. The RAP Program is a clinic and a research facility that works with adolescents and young adults to help prevent and treat psychiatric illnesses. The current study will compare the effects of six months of fish oil or a placebo on the subjects' clinical symptoms and school, work and social function. Participants will be monitored monthly at eight clinical sites.
"Of the 300 adolescents who have participated in the RAP Program, most have shown substantial improvement," stated Barbara Cornblatt, PhD, who is the director of the RAP Program and investigator at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, headquartered in Manhasset, New York. "If this study continues to show success, omega 3 could offer a natural alternative to the range of medications and therapies now offered to RAP participants. Ultimately, the goal of the RAP Program is to intervene and prevent illness before symptoms get worse."
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