Study says the Mediterranean diet may not reduce dementia risk

  • Research suggests that following a Mediterranean diet provides many health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Besides these health benefits, some research suggests that this eating pattern may prevent or delay the cognitive decline associated with dementia. However, studies have produced conflicting results.
  • However, in a new 20-year observational study, scientists in Sweden found no significant association between the Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of dementia.
  • The researchers suggest that more investigations are needed to fully understand the role that diet plays in reducing dementia risk.

Dementia is a syndrome associated with a decline in cognitive function that is usually chronic or progressive.

They may result from injuries or health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), stroke, and disorders that affect the blood vessels of the brain, among others. The cause of dementia is still not fully understood.

The World Health Organization indicates that more than 55 million People are currently living with dementia. Moreover, this number is expected to rise to 139 million in 2050.

With the expected high prevalence of dementia, identifying effective preventive strategies and treatments is critical.

One area of ​​research that has received increasing attention from scientists is the role that diet plays in reducing dementia risk. Specifically, scientists are interested in the Mediterranean diet – an eating pattern that follows the traditional cuisine of people living in the Mediterranean region.

Although some Evidence Suggesting that this diet may offer protection against cognitive decline, new research by scientists at Lund University in Sweden has found no significant association between a traditional or Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of dementia.

Scientists suggest that diet alone may not have a strong effect on cognitive function.

The study was published October 12 in the journal’s online issue Neurology.

To investigate the role that diet plays in the development of dementia, as well as dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, Lund University researchers analyzed dietary data from 28,025 people in Sweden over a 20-year period. At the start of the research, the average age of the participants was 58, and none had been diagnosed with dementia.

Participants completed 7-day food journals, detailed questionnaires on food frequencies, and underwent personal interviews.

In a 20-year follow-up, 1,943 or nearly 7% of participants were diagnosed with dementia – including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

The researchers then examined the participants’ adherence to the recommendations of the traditional or Mediterranean diet. The traditional diet recommendations used by the scientists followed Swedish nutrition recommendations and guidelines, similar to guidelines in the United States and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the researchers used the Modified Mediterranean Diet Score (mMDS) to calculate the participants’ adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

In addition to sticking to the diet, the researchers adjusted for age, gender, education, and lifestyle factors. The team also excluded participants who had been diagnosed with dementia within 5 years after the start of the study.

After examining the data, the scientists found no significant associations between adherence to traditional dietary recommendations nor to a Mediterranean diet and reduced risk of all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.

They also found no evidence that adherence to any diet affected the presence of biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a subgroup of 738 participants.

Furthermore, identical results were found among individuals who highly adhered to dietary recommendations or who highly adhered to the Mediterranean diet.

However, the researchers noted that participants who developed dementia over the 20-year study period were older and had lower educational levels at the start of the study than those who did not develop the condition. In addition, individuals who developed dementia also had common cardiovascular risk factors and comorbid health conditions at the start of the study.

However, given the study’s limitations, including the possibility that participants may not report some diet and lifestyle information, the researchers suggest that further investigation is needed to confirm these findings.

in press releasestudy author Dr. Isabelle GlanzResearcher and PhD at Lund University said:

“Although our study does not rule out a possible association between diet and dementia, we did not find an association in our study, which had a long follow-up period, included participants who were younger than some of the other studies, and did not require people to remember what foods they were eating. They ate it regularly years ago.”

In an editorial related to the study, Dr. Nils Petersa neurologist and professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland, and Dr.. Benedita Necmiasa professor at the University of Florence in Italy, noted that despite these findings, “diet should not be forgotten, and it is still important, especially when it is included in a multimodal approach, including other measures, such as vascular risk factor control. .”

despite Evidence Noting that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for overall health, research on whether it prevents or slows the progression of dementia continues to lead to conflicting results.

For example, a Study 2021 It is suggested that a multidisciplinary approach, including diet, physical, cognitive and social activity, may provide the most benefits for cognitive function.

In addition, a 12-year Australian longitudinal group Study from 2019 He found that the Mediterranean intervention of a delaying neurodegeneration (MIND) diet, but not a Mediterranean diet, was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment.

By contrast, a A systematic review of the research The 2014 publication notes that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Moreover, recently systematic review It suggests that following the Mediterranean diet may prevent or delay cognitive disorders and improve cognitive function in healthy adults.

Karen de SullivanPh.D., ABPP, Innovator I care about your brain Tutorial, did not participate in the study, said Medical news today:

“The Mediterranean Diet has gathered a strong body of evidence linking this way of eating to the prevention of chronic disease and improved vascular health through the resulting stable glucose and blood pressure levels, healthy lipid levels, and lower systemic inflammation.”

Kimberly GummerRD, LDN, Director of Nutrition at miami beautiful bodyTell MNT:

Physical and cognitive benefits [of the Mediterranean diet] It relates not only to what this diet includes (fish, olives, oil, vegetables) but what it does not include, heavily processed foods including processed grains, vegetable seed oils (soybean, corn, sunflower, canola, vegetables), and Sugar. My thoughts are that if a person consumes omega-3 fats, along with highly processed foods, seed oils, and sugar – they may not have cognitive protection and dementia.”

Sullivan suggested that “the most evidence-based brain health diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet, an acronym called the MIND diet. […]. “

The MIND diet focuses on eating 10 healthy foods regularly (beans, berries, fish, green leafy vegetables, nuts, poultry, olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, and wine) while avoiding five specific categories of unhealthy foods (butter, Cheese, fried food [and] Fast food, red meat and sweets [and] Sullivan said.

However, it is important to remember that, as with all diets, brain health-promoting foods must be consumed in conjunction with other lifestyle choices to reap significant benefits, such as consistent cardiovascular exercise, socialization, and cognitive stimulation, The meaning is -industry.There is not a single thing in solitude […] It would have a powerful effect on something as complex as the brain.”

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