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Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet Protects from Cognitive Decline in the Invecchiare in Chianti Study of Aging

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Tanaka T1, Talegawkar SA2, Jin Y3, Colpo M4, Ferrucci L5, Bandinelli S6.

Abstract

Following a Mediterranean diet high in plant-based foods and fish, low in meat and dairy foods, and with moderate alcohol intake has been shown to promote healthy aging. Therefore, we examined the association between a Mediterranean diet and trajectories of cognitive performance in the InCHIANTI study. Subjects (N = 832) were examined every 2⁻3 years up to 18 years with an average follow-up period of 10.1 years. Cognitive performance was assessed using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) at every visit. Dietary habits were assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire and adherence to Mediterranean diet was computed on a scale of 0-9 and categorized into three groups of low (≤3), medium (4⁻5), and high (≥6). Those in the highest adherence group (OR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.29⁻0.79) and medium adherence group (OR = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.41⁻0.99) were less likely to experience cognitive decline. The annual average decline in MMSE scores was 0.4 units, for those in the high and medium adherence group this decline was attenuated by 0.34 units (p < 0.001) and 0.16 units (p = 0.03), respectively. Our findings suggest that adherence to a Mediterranean diet can have long-lasting protective effects on cognitive decline and may be an effective strategy for the prevent or delay dementia.

Resource: Nutrients. 2018 Dec 19;10(12).