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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Aug;65(8):1857-1862. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14922. Epub 2017 Apr 25.

Neuroprotective Diets Are Associated with Better Cognitive Function: The Health and Retirement Study.

McEvoy CT1,2,3, Guyer H4, Langa KM4,5, Yaffe K1,3,6,7.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
2
Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
3
Global Brain Health Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
4
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
5
Division of General Medicine, Veterans Affairs Center for Practice Management and Outcomes Research, Institute of Gerontology, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
6
Departments of Neurology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
7
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the association between the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and the Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegeneration Delay (MIND diet) and cognition in a nationally representative population of older U.S. adults.

DESIGN:

Population-based cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Health and Retirement Study.

PARTICIPANTS:

Community-dwelling older adults (N = 5,907; mean age 67.8 ± 10.8).

MEASUREMENTS:

Adherence to dietary patterns was determined from food frequency questionnaires using criteria determined a priori to generate diet scores for the MedDiet (range 0-55) and MIND diet (range 0-15). Cognitive performance was measured using a composite test score of global cognitive function (range 0-27). Linear regression was used to compare cognitive performance according to tertiles of dietary pattern. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between dietary patterns and clinically significant cognitive impairment. Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, educational attainment, and other health and lifestyle covariates.

RESULTS:

Participants with mid (odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.71-1.02, P = .08) and high (OR 0.65, 95% CI = 0.52-0.81, P < .001) MedDiet scores were less likely to have poor cognitive performance than those with low scores in fully adjusted models. Results for the MIND diet were similar. Higher scores in each dietary pattern were independently associated with significantly better cognitive function (P < .001) in a dose-response manner (P trend  < .001).

CONCLUSION:

In a large nationally representative population of older adults, greater adherence to the MedDiet and MIND diet was independently associated with better cognitive function and lower risk of cognitive impairment. Clinical trials are required to elucidate the role of dietary patterns in cognitive aging.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive performance; dietary patterns

PMID:
28440854
PMCID:
PMC5633651
DOI:
10.1111/jgs.14922
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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