The Mediterranean Diet, and other health diets in general, have been shown to be associated with decreased cognitive decline as well as decreased risk of developing dementia.
A new review study, published in the journal Advances in Nutrition aimed to collect all the research (in the human model) through May 2014 related to diet, cognitive decline, and dementia, in order to get a better understanding of the relationship between diet and this kind of mental health.
6 cross-sectional, 12 longitudinal, 1 trial, and 3 meta-analysis studies related to diet and cognitive decline or dementia were evaluated for this review.
Stronger adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with significantly less cognitive decline and decreased incidence of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease across 14 of studies (out of 22) on the subject through May 2014.
Those studies not focused solely on the Mediterranean diet but other healthy diets in general also found significant associations between adherence to healthy eating and declines in cognitive dysfunction including decreased risk of dementia (found in all 6 cross-sectional studies and 6 of 8 longitudinal studies).
While results were not sweeping across the board, most of the studies included in this review agreed and showed that the
Mediterranean Diet, or otherwise healthy diet, decreased the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite this majority finding, more research needs to be done to get a better understand of the discrepancies in the other studies that did not find similar results, in case the results are something greater than simple population variability.
still developing has been shown to have negative effects on cognitive function, showing damage to be permanent, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for “executive functioning” or working memory, reasoning, task management, and other cognitive functions.
While most studies tend to focus on heavy or binge drinking, few have focused primarily on low to moderate amounts of alcohol and effects on the younger adult brain.
A new study published in the journal Alcohol aimed to determine the effect of low-level alcohol consumption in young adults on cognitive processing, using novel fMRI methods.
This study used data from 29 young adults enrolled in a 20 year from birth through young adulthood cohort. Participants did not do drugs and they did not suffer from any cognitive development issues. The number of alcoholic drinks consumed per week was determined for each participant using questionnaires.
To be sure participants were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol before
the MRI procedure, urine tests were performed.
During the MRI procedure, the Counting Stroop cognitive test was performed.
Nutrition, lifestyle, and diet choices have been implicated as influencing cognitive health of various populations. Specifically,
research has shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with improved cognitive health and brain aging in the elderly population.
A new review in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care focused on the longitudinal studied published between 2013 and mid-2014 on the effect of diet on cognitive health and brain aging. A total of 6 longitudinal studies and 2 large-scale meta-analyses were performed during this time.
The two meta-analyses indicate that there appears to be an effect of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on cognitive health in the elderly.
Adherence to the Mediterranean diet reduces risk of Alzheimer’s.
Adherence to the Mediterranean diet reduces risk of cognitive impairment.
The six longitudinal studies from the US and Europe show mixed results in the effect of Mediterranean diet adherence and cognitive health benefits.
At present, there is a lack of evidence supporting the idea that the Mediterranean diet is an “optimal dietary strategy” for reducing the risk of age-related cognitive health problems.
The results of this review suggest that there are a lot of inconsistencies in results of several recent studies related to adherence to the Mediterranean diet and cognitive health in the elderly. In general, there does seem to be evidence to support the idea that the Mediterranean diet may be beneficial for long-term mental health in some populations,
however, the inconsistencies make it difficult to generalize across all populations (for example, all elderly).
While some studies may show benefit, differences in experimental design as well as sample size make it very difficult to draw any conclusions on a general population level. Much more research is needed to clear up these discrepancies, and researchers should be more careful when planning experimental design such that reviews of current literature may (or may not!) reveal more interpretable results.
528 primary schoolchildren between the ages of 10 and 12 years old (split relatively evenly between boys and girls) from 21 different schools in and around Athens, Greece were recruited for this study.
Activity levels, anxiety levels, self-esteem/self-perception levels, body image dissatisfaction, and dietary habits for each child were measured using self-reported questionnaires.
Academic performance was evaluated by the children’s teachers, who then completed questionnaires to be analyzed by the researchers.
Finally, height, weight, BMI, waist circumference, and abdominal obesity were measured for each child.