Tag Archives: cognitive decline

Mediterranean Diet Once Again LInked to Reduced Age-Related Brain Decline

…particularly in Australian men at high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. MedPageToday has the details.

Mediterranean Diet Failed to Prevent Mental Decline in Women With Vascular Disease

Unfortunately, the Mediterranean diet failed to preserve cognitive function over the course of five years in the Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study (WACS).  The 2,500 women in the study, all over 65, at baseline had vascular disease or at least three risk factors for vascular disease.

Note that this research says nothing about prevention of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer dementia in women who don’t have baseline vascular disease.  The Mediterranean diet seems to help that population.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Elderly Mental Decline Is Slowed by Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet slowed age-related mental decline in elderly Chicago residents, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. The investigators noted that a Manhattan population following the Mediterranean diet also showed slower mental decline and lower rates of Alzheimers dementia.Over 3,000 study participants (2,280 blacks, 1,510 whites) were studied for an average of eight years. Food consumption was determined by questionnaires, and mental function was tested every three years. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was judged according to a Mediterranean diet score developed by Panagiotakis, et al.

The greater the adherence to the Greek-style Mediterranean diet, the lower the rate of mental decline over the course of the study.

Mental decline to some extent is a normal part of aging. If we can avoid it or lessen it’s impact, why not? A couple ways to do that are regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet.

Would a low-carb Mediterranean diet work just as well or better? Nobody knows yet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Tangney, Christine, et al. Adherence to a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern and cognitive decline in a community population. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010. doi 10.3945/ajcn.110.007369


Preserve Brain Function and Size With Right Diet

mp9004223691.jpgNeurology a few days ago reported that the proper diet seems to help prevent age-related brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.

From the press release:

People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Those with diets high in omega 3 fatty acids and in vitamins C, D, E and the B vitamins also had higher scores on mental thinking tests than people with diets low in those nutrients. These omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D are primarily found in fish. The B vitamins and antioxidants C and E are primarily found in fruits and vegetables.

So the dietary pattern linked to preservation of brain size and function in this study is: high omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C, D, and E. I don’t know if study participants were getting these nutrients from supplements or from food or a combination. (I haven’t read the full article.)

Don’t forget: our bodies can make vitamin D if we have enough sun exposure. So supplements and food would not be the only sources.

Note that the time-honored Mediterranean diet is also associated with lower rates of dementia and slower rate of age-related mental decline.

I previously reported that a supplement cocktail of three B vitamins slowed the rate of brain shrinkage. An upcoming post will cover whether brain function was affected.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Bowman, G.L., et al. Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182436598

h/t to Randall Parker at FuturePundit