From the medical news feed

The Mediterranean diet, consisting largely of fruits and vegetables, is associated with a smaller risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to an early release report published online in the Archives of Neurology. The lower risk was also evident in individuals with vascular diseases (including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes).

The Mediterranean diet consists of fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals and fish, and moderate amounts of alcohol and red meat. This diet has already been associated with a lower risk for diseases including cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D. and colleagues at Columbia University studied the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and Alzheimer’s disease in a group of 1,984 adults (average age was 76.3). All participants, including 194 who had Alzheimer’s disease, had an assessment of their diet from the previous year.

Their diet was scored, based on its relationship to the Mediterranean diet. Scores were in a range from zero to nine, higher scores indicating eating patterns more aligned with the diet. Based on data analysis, each additional point increase in a subject’s diet score decreased the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by 19 to 24 percent.

Research subjects having a diet score in the top third had 68 percent lower odds of having Alzheimer’s disease than those in the bottom one-third.  

Reviews of participant’s medical histories indicate that vascular abnormalities were likely to be associated with a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. However there was no statistical evidence of a greater relationship between vascular comorbidity and Alzheimer’s disease. The authors believe that the lack of association of vascular disease with Alzheimer’s could be due to inflammatory processes having a more important influence on disease progression. The authors also believe that there may be possible measurement errors in the vascular variables utilized in the analysis.

The implications of the study indicate dietary habits may influence the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.


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About the Author

Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D. is a cancer biologist by training, a medical writer and an experienced science educator.

The author has no financial relationship to any of the companies listed in the article. 

Topics #alzheimers disease #mediterranean diet