Wednesday, July 16, 2014
While the Mediterranean diet may have broad health benefits, its impact on cognitive decline differs among race-specific populations, according to a new study
The team of researchers analyzed an NIH/NIA prospective cohort study conducted over eight years in the United States to measure the effects of adherence to a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean-style diet has fewer meat products and more plant-based foods and monounsaturated fatty acids from olive and canola oil than a typical American diet. To assess the association between the diet and brain function, the researchers used data of several Modified Mini-Mental State Examinations (3MS) on 2,326 participating older adults (70-79). The 3MS is an extensively used and validated instrument designed to measure several cognitive domains to screen for cognitive impairment and commonly used to screen for dementia. "In a population of initially well-functioning older adults, we found a significant correlation between strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a slower rate of cognitive decline among African American, but not white, older adults. Our study is the first to show a possible race-specific association between the Mediterranean diet and cognitive decline."