Neuroprotective dietary patterns and cognitive function in older US adults: the Health and Retirement Study: Diet and cognitive function

Claire McEvoy, Heidi Guyer, Kenneth Langa, Kristine Yaffe

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background: Adherence to the traditional Mediterranean (MedDiet) or MIND diet is shown to be neuroprotective, but study findings to date are limited and inconsistent. We examined the association between adherence to these dietary patterns and cognitive function among 5,907 older community dwelling adults from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study. Methods: Adherence to dietary patterns was ascertained from a food frequency questionnaire using a priori criteria to generate diet scores for MedDiet (range = 0-55) and MIND diet (range 0-15). Cognitive performance was measured using a composite test score of global cognitive function (range 0-27). Regression models were used to investigate associations between dietary patterns and cognitive function. Models were adjusted for age, gender, race, educational attainment and other health and lifestyle covariates. Results: The mean age of participants was 68 ± 10.8 years. Higher MedDiet score was independently associated with significantly better global cognitive function (P < 0.001) in a dose-response relationship (PTREND < 0.001). Compared to those with lowest MedDiet adherence, persons with mid and highest adherence had significantly lower likelihood of poor cognitive performance (OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.68, 0.99: P =0.03 and OR 0.60; 95% CI: 0.49, 0.75: P < 0.001, respectively). Results were similar for the MIND diet score. Conclusion: In a large, nationally representative population of older adults, greater adherence to the MedDiet or MIND diet was independently associated with better cognitive function and lower risk of cognitive impairment. Clinical trials are required to elucidate the role of dietary patterns in cognitive aging.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 01 Jul 2017
EventAlzheimer's Association International Conference 2017: AAIC 17 - Excel Centre, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jul 201720 Jul 2017


ConferenceAlzheimer's Association International Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleAAIC 17
CountryUnited Kingdom

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