AbstractThe n-3 essential fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) was added to the conventional antidepressant treatment of a treatment-resistant severely depressed and suicidal male patient with a seven-year history of unremitting depressive symptoms. The niacin skin flush test and cerebral magnetic resonance scanning were carried out at baseline and nine months later. The addition of ethyl-EPA led to a dramatic and sustained clinical improvement in all the symptoms of depression, including a cessation of previously unremitting severe suicidal ideation, within one month. Symptoms of social phobia also improved dramatically. During the nine-month period the volumetric niacin response increased by 30%, the relative concentration of cerebral phosphomonesters increased by 53%, and the ratio of cerebral phosphomonesters to phosphodiesters increased by 79%, indicating reduced neuronal phospholipid turnover. Registered difference images showed that the EPA treatment was accompanied by structural brain changes including, in particular, a reduction in the lateral ventricular volume.
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