Mediterranean Diet May Prevent Memory Loss and Dementia Symptoms

Researchers found that consuming food associated with the diet interfered with the build-up of proteins commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
May. 10, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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According to a study pub­lished in the American Academy of Neurology, the symp­toms of some types of demen­tia and mem­ory loss con­di­tions often found in older peo­ple could be mit­i­gated by fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet at a younger age.

The researchers found that con­sum­ing foods com­monly asso­ci­ated with the MedDiet may inter­fere with the build-up of two pro­teins into amy­loid plaques and tau tan­gles, both of which are heav­ily linked with Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

(The) moun­tain of evi­dence con­tin­ues to build that you are what you eat when it comes to brain health.- Richard Isaacson, direc­tor, Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine

The sci­en­tists exam­ined lev­els and brain effi­ciency in 169 cog­ni­tively nor­mal patients and 343 patients at higher risk of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease and deter­mined patients’ adher­ence to the MedDiet. The aver­age age of par­tic­i­pants was 69.

Using cog­ni­tive tests, MRI scans and cere­brospinal fluid exam­i­na­tions, researchers inves­ti­gated the cor­re­la­tion between the degree of adher­ence to the MedDiet and its effects on the ner­vous sys­tem.

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Higher MedDiet adher­ence was cor­re­lated with larger medio tem­po­ral gray mat­ter vol­ume, bet­ter mem­ory and less amy­loid and tau pathol­ogy, the researchers wrote.

More specif­i­cally, medio tem­po­ral vol­ume medi­ated the asso­ci­a­tion between MedDiet and mem­ory. Finally, adher­ence to the MedDiet favor­ably mod­er­ated the asso­ci­a­tions between amy­loid, tau and medio tem­po­ral atro­phy.

Our find­ings cor­rob­o­rate the view of the MedDiet as a pro­tec­tive fac­tor against mem­ory decline and medio tem­po­ral atro­phy,” wrote the sci­en­tists. Importantly, they sug­gest that these asso­ci­a­tions might be explained by a decrease of amy­loi­do­sis and tau-pathol­ogy.”

Longitudinal and dietary inter­ven­tion stud­ies should fur­ther exam­ine this con­jec­ture and its treat­ment impli­ca­tions,” they added.

The cor­re­la­tion between adher­ence to the MedDiet and its ben­e­fi­cial effects on brain effi­ciency and longevity has long been the focus of other research. Most say that the MedDiet is a pre­ven­ta­tive tool against the man­i­fes­ta­tion of demen­tia later in life.

The reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil – one of the main com­po­nents of the MedDiet – has also been shown to mit­i­gate some of the con­di­tions that might bring cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion in older peo­ple.

“[The] moun­tain of evi­dence con­tin­ues to build that you are what you eat when it comes to brain health,” Richard Isaacson, the direc­tor of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital who was not involved in the study, told CNN.

In this impor­tant study, researchers showed that it’s pos­si­ble to not only improve cog­ni­tive func­tion, most specif­i­cally mem­ory, but also reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s dis­ease pathol­ogy,” he added.





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