OmegaQuant Awarded Grant to Develop Test that Predicts Dementia Risk

December 14, 2023, Sioux Falls, SD: OmegaQuant, the leader in omega-3 and fatty acid testing, has been awarded a small business innovation research (SBIR) grant to develop a test identifying fatty acid patterns that predicts dementia risk as an early screening tool.

The panel that awarded the SBIR grant to OmegaQuant concurred that this project’s significance was high since it would advance a method for predicting impending (vs. already established) dementia, which is an umbrella term that refers to a range of symptoms affecting someone’s cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia characterized by progressive memory loss and cognitive decline.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. About 73% of those are age 75 or older. This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060. The disease kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Treating Alzheimer’s and dementia currently costs the US healthcare system around $345 billion, not including the value of unpaid caregiving. The medical and scientific communities are pursuing affordable ways to screen people for early indicators of dementia risk, including the use of simple biomarkers of nutritional status, such as the Omega-3 Index.

OmegaQuant and the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI) have teamed up to utilize large cohorts where they have access to fatty acid data and dementia outcomes on which they can deploy machine learning to identify the ideal fatty acid profile for predicting dementia risk.

“If we are able to identify a highly predictive fatty acid-based risk factor, then we will test whether it is clinically relevant. In other words, will this fatty acid-based risk factor possess the predictive power against other traditional risk factors for dementia,” said William S. Harris, PhD, FASN, President and Founder of FARI, and founder of OmegaQuant Analytics.

“If this Phase 1 grant delivers promising results, we will apply for a Phase II grant that will allow us to test this biomarker in a clinical trial and eventually bring this test to market,” Dr. Harris added.

FARI was established in 2020 as a non-profit foundation that brings together nutrition scientists and biostatistical experts with strong publication records and expertise in fatty acids to accelerate discovery of the relationship between fatty acids, especially omega-3s, and health. FARI is currently the only organization focused directly on discovering and publishing research evaluating the health effects of individual fatty acids.

OmegaQuant specializes in providing fatty acid measurements, interpretation, and customized behavioral interventions and has a large and growing customer base of researchers, clinicians, businesses, and individuals. OmegaQuant has also measured full fatty acid profiles (28 individual fatty acids) in numerous randomized clinical trials and prospective cohort studies.

Creating early screening tools like those described in this recent grant will have a strong impact on public health and generate enormous cost-savings for individuals as well as the healthcare system at large.

“There is a strong need for accessible and inexpensive early predictive biomarkers of dementia risk to facilitate the early identification of high-risk individuals, providing the time necessary to make meaningful lifestyle changes to slow or prevent disease progression,” Dr. Harris said. 


Media Inquiries:

Becky Wright

Marketing Communications Director, OmegaQuant



About OmegaQuant:

OmegaQuant is an independent, CLIA-certified lab that offers nutritional status testing to researchers, clinicians and the public. OmegaQuant performs analysis in Sioux Falls, SD, for commercial and academic research collaborators, and for consumers interested in monitoring their nutritional status in both blood and breast milk. Its goal is to offer the highest quality fatty acid analytical services to researchers and to provide simple tests of nutritional status to consumers, with the ultimate purpose of advancing the science and use of certain nutrients to improve health. Internationally, OmegaQuant works with lab partners based in Australia and the UK. In the UK, it has a partnership with the University of Stirling, based in the Scotland, to help process blood samples from Europe.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This test is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any disease. This site does not offer medical advice, and nothing contained herein is intended to establish a doctor/patient relationship. OmegaQuant, LLC is regulated under the Clinical Laboratory improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and is qualified to perform high complexity clinical testing. The performance characteristics of this test were determined by OmegaQuant, LLC. It has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.