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Reuters Health Information 2006. © 2006 Reuters Ltd.
Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 21 - Treatment with omega-3 fatty acids appears to have therapeutic benefit for prepubescent children with major depression, according to the findings of a pilot study conducted by researchers in Israel.The results of some studies in adults with major depressive disorder have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be an effective add-on therapy. However, the effects of this supplement in prepubescent children with major depression are unknown, Dr. R. H. Belmaker, of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and colleagues write.Dr. Belmaker's group therefore conducted a controlled, double-blind trial in which 28 children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old were randomized to omega-3 fatty acids or placebo. The Children's Depression Rating Scale (CDRS), Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) were used to assess the subjects at baseline and throughout the 16-week trial.Twenty children who remained in the study for at least 1 month were included in the analysis.Seven out of 10 children in the active treatment group and none of the children in the placebo group had a reduction in CDRS score of more than 50% (p = 0.003). Four children in the omega-3 group met criteria for remission compared with none in the placebo group. Results of CDI and CGI scores also showed significant improvements in the omega-3 group compared with the placebo group.No clinically relevant side effects were reported, according to the report in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.The omega-3 fatty acid used in the study was "a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid that is commonly available as an over-the-counter preparation," the researchers note.Dr. Belmaker and colleagues conclude that the effects of omega-3 fatty acids are "highly significant." This is the first such study, they believe, that has been conducted in children.Am J Psychiatry 2006;163:1098-1100.

 

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