The long-term daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil could benefit elderly people with cognitive impairments even more than previously thought, according to a new study from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, tested the effects of high-phenolic early-harvest extra virgin olive oil (HP-EH-EVOO) against moderate phenolic extra virgin olive oil (MP-EVOO) and the Mediterranean diet.
Until today, there is no other study which has examined in such a detailed manner the effects of Greek extra virgin olive oil in elders with amnestic mild cognitive impairment as an effective solution.
The researchers found that HP-EH-EVOO served as a natural therapeutic pharmaceutical compound for older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, which is considered a prodromal condition to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
While there is no treatment for either amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, based on previous research on the subject, the Greek scientists decided to investigate how extra virgin olive oil could play a role in mitigating or arresting the development of amnestic mild cognitive impairment.See Also: Health News
Previous studies have shown the therapeutic effects of following a Mediterranean diet on improving cognitive functions while decreasing the risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment progressing to Alzheimer’s disease.
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Another study cited by the researchers showed the consumption of extra virgin olive oil delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in transgenic mice.
“The results of this study suggest that the long-term consumption of an extra virgin olive oil-containing diet starting at an early age provides a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease and its related disorder cerebral amyloid angiopathy,” the researchers wrote.
“A long-term intervention with an extra virgin olive oil-rich MedDiet in 285 participants with high vascular risk resulted in better cognitive functioning when compared to a control diet,” they added.
In order to test the difference between the three diets – HP-EH-EVOO, MP-EVOO and the traditional MedDiet – the researchers assigned their patients to three different groups.
The results of the study demonstrated that participants following an HP-EH-EVOO variation of the MedDiet fared better in the 12-month follow-up performance in almost all cognitive domains of the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale-cognitive subscale, which is a scale used to understand the level of cognitive impairment caused by the disease, than adherents to the other two diets.
Those patients also fared better with digit span, which focuses on the working memory activity and letter fluency.
Furthermore, adherents to the MP-EVOO variation of the MedDiet fared better on the same cognitive tests than participants in the control group, who followed a standard Mediterranean diet.
According to the scientists, their research showed that “long-term intervention with HP-EH-EVOO or MP-EVOO was associated with significant improvement in cognitive function compared to a Mediterranean diet.”
“Until today, there is no other study which has examined in such a detailed manner the effects of Greek extra virgin olive oil in elders with amnestic mild cognitive impairment as an effective solution for cognitive impairment,” the researchers added.