Brave Study looks at veterans and Alzheimer’s disease

Fish oil used to retain brain blood flow

A study being conducted by UW Health and Veterans Affairs is looking for ways to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease among veterans.

“We know that veterans, especially VA eligible veterans, have a higher risk of developing dementia, and it is not clear, but they think it might be partly related to having more vascular risk factors, they have more depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries,” said Dr. Cynthia Carlsson, an associate professor of medicine and geriatrics at the University of Wisconsin.

The Brave Study hopes to follow 150 veterans, between the ages of 50 and 75 who have at least one parent with Alzheimer’s disease.

Veterans enrolled in the study will have baseline testing done, including a cognitive test, a spinal fluid test, and an MRI to measure blood flow in the brain.

Half of the individuals in the study will receive a high dose prescription of fish oil.

The hope is the fish oil will help retain blood flow in the brain and prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“There’s an urgent need for us to be able to develop therapies that, if not prevent Alzheimer’s, at least delay the onset of Alzheimer’s to give people more years of life of good memories,” said Carlsson.

Participants in the study will be followed for 18 months.

They will be retested after nine months, and again after 18 months with the results compared to the baseline findings

The study is being funded by the VA and is being conducted at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Veterans interested in participating in the study, or wanting more information can contact Elena Beckman, study coordinator at: or by calling 608-256-1901 (ext. 11199).