Mediterranean diet: 30-year CARDIA study shows cognitive benefit

  • McEvoy CT & al.
  • Neurology
  • 6 Mar 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Young adults with higher Mediterranean diet score or A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS) had slower decline in cognition during the next 3 decades.

Why this matters

  • Attractiveness of lifestyle interventions to prevent dementia.

Key results

  • Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet not associated with change in cognitive performance.
  • Higher Mediterranean diet score tertile associated with less decline in composite cognitive function (P=.03), Stroop Interference (P<.01 style="list-style-type:circle;">
  • Low: −0.04, 0.09.
  • Middle: 0.03, −0.06.
  • High: 0.03, −0.03.
  • Higher APDQS score tertile associated with less decline in composite cognitive function (P<.01 stroop interference style="list-style-type:circle;">
  • Low: −0.04, 0.10.
  • Middle: −0.00, 0.01.
  • High: 0.06, −0.09.
  • OR for poor global cognitive function, high vs low tertile diet score:
    • Mediterranean diet: 0.54 (95% CI, 0.39-0.74).
    • APDQS: 0.48 (95% CI, 0.33-0.69).
    • DASH: 0.89 (95% CI, 0.68-1.17).
  • Study design

    • Prospective cohort study, 2621 participants in CARDIA.
    • Diet scores from diet history: baseline (mean age, 25 years), year 7 (mean age, 32 years), year 20 (mean age, 45 years).
    • Cognitive function: year 25 (mean age, 50 years), year 30 (mean age, 55 years).
    • Main outcome: change in composite cognitive function at year 30.
    • Funding: American Federation of Aging Research; others.

    Limitations

    • Olive oil not considered in Mediterranean diet score.
    • Residual confounding.
    • Unclear generalizability.