Researchers at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., compared such preventive strategies by food supplementation and by electronic devices in a computer-simulated community of 100,000 people that resembled the population of Olmsted County, Minn., in 2000.
Lead researchers Dr. Thomas Kottke and colleagues raised omega-3 fatty acids levels among the cyber-Olmsted citizens and found a subsequent lowering of overall death rates in the simulated population by 6.4 percent.
However automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, reduced death rates by 0.8 percent, and implanted defibrillators, ICDs, reduced deaths by 3.3 percent.
Omega-3 levels can be increased by eating fish or taking supplements.
According to Kottle the research suggests that raising omega-3 fatty acids "would have about eight times the impact of distributing AEDs and two times the impact of implanting ICDs."
Kottke said that the study appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.