Do you think the Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of developing dementia? 20-year study hints no

A study conducted over 20 years has not found a link between a person’s diet during their midlife and their risk of developing dementia.

An “Mediterranean diet” doesn’t reduce the chance of getting dementia, as an 20-year study conducted in Sweden suggests.

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The research has previously examined the potential cognitive benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is broadly described as a diet high in legumes, vegetables fruits, fish, and unsaturated fats like olive oil and with a low intake of dairy, saturated fats, red meats and other red meats has yielded mixed results according to The National Institutes for Health’s

National Institute on Aging (NIA). However the two studies of 2019 published in JAMA which included hundreds of participants and years of follow-up, found no evidence that suggests that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing dementia.

The latest Swedish study casts more doubt about the brain-boosting benefits of the diet. “We didn’t find any link between traditional dietary practices or adhering to the Mediterranean diet and the subsequent incidence of dementia” the study’s first author was Dr. Isabelle Glans, a member of the Clinical Memory Research unit at Lund University in Sweden, said, The results, which match the findings of previous studies with similar dimensions as well as length reported in October. 12, in Neurology. Neurology

Do you think the Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of developing dementia? 20-year study hints noSimilar to earlier studies, this research relied on self-reported diet data from participants, which might not be completely exact and may skew the conclusions.

The impact of diet on the development of dementia

The physiologist Ancel Keys and biochemist Margaret Keys, husband and wife couple, developed The Mediterranean diet from significant research on the connection between diet and chances of suffering from heart attacks and stroke. The study concluded that diets that are low in saturated fats protect against cardiovascular diseases, and Ancel and Margaret got their influences of Greek, Italian and other Mediterranean food styles to create their popular diet cookbooks According to The Conversation

Theoretically, by protecting against heart disease in the long run, the Mediterranean diet may indirectly decrease the chance of developing dementia, in the opinion of the NIA. The reason is that plaque accumulation in the arteries (atherosclerosis) and strokes and high blood pressure diabetes and high blood sugar could all increase the risk of developing dementia, and a balanced diet could help decrease the chance of developing these diseases.

The Swedish study isn’t able to entirely disprove this notion but it does indicate that diet does not have a significant impact on the way that cognitive function develops throughout the course of life.

“Diet as a single factor might not have a significant enough impact on cognition but it’s much more likely to thought of as a factor in conjunction with other factors that could influence the development of cognition,

“Doctor. Nils Peters, a neurology specialist at the Stroke Centre in Klinik Hirslanden situated in Zurich, Switzerland, and Benedetta Nacmias, Associate Professor of Neurology in the University of Florence, wrote in October. 12 editorial

Other factors to consider include regular exercise; not smoking cigarettes; drinking in moderation, and keeping blood pressure under control according to the study. Particularly, research shows that regular physical exercise and consistent blood pressure management can help prevent cognitive decline. It is also believed that these factors could be more important than diet, as per the NIA

The research included the data of around 28,000 people who participated in the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study. The study was launched within Malmo, Swedish city Malmo in the late 1990s. The study’s beginning point was when the participants were aged 58. At that point, they had provided information on their diet as an entire week of food diary as well as a thorough questionnaire regarding the frequency and the amount when they ate various meals and an interview on their diet routines. Based on this data the team of researchers “scored” each participant based on the degree to which they adhered to the standard Swedish food guidelines or specific versions that was part of their Mediterranean diet.

Over the course of the next two decades, 1,943 individuals who were 6.9 percent of those who participated were diagnosed with a kind of dementia. The diagnosis included two most frequent types of the disease: those that are related with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the vascular form of dementia that results due to a decrease in circulation of blood into the brain.

People who adhered to a traditional diet or the Mediterranean diet did not experience an increased risk of developing dementia of any kind than those who did not follow either one they found. They also discovered no connection to diet with a certain marker for Alzheimer’s disease which they tested for in about 740 people who had cognitive decline.

Overall, the research “does not provide evidence of a specific impact that diet has on development of cognitive function” Peters and Nacmias wrote. However, like other studies that have been conducted in the past, this study has its drawbacks, they wrote. For instance, the initial diet information collected from participants may not be accurate in describing the way their diet has changed over time. Furthermore, the participants might have inaccurately reported their actual dietary practices.

The best method to test the long-term impact on eating a Mediterranean eating plan for cognition is to conduct a long-term, randomized controlled trial. In such a trial groups of participants are asked to adhere to specific diet plans and even offered all food items for a prolonged duration of time, and then they’d be monitored for any signs of dementia all through.

“However it’s likely impossible to plan an ongoing randomized controlled study for 20 years that requires strict dietary guidelines to follow,” the study authors have written in their report. The shorter-term trials like this are available at the NIA website and on the Clinical Trials Finder

For now evidence is available there is no evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet isn’t an effective solution for prevention of dementia.


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