MIND Eating regimen Rating Predicts Cognitive Perform, Dementia Danger in Older Adults

A higher MIND diet score is associated with greater cognitive function and slower cognitive decline regardless of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology and other age-related brain pathologies, according to study results published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The MIND diet, which is a mix of the Mediterranean diet and the hypertension diet, is rich in nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin E, lutein-zeaxanthin, and flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and procognitive properties. It has been linked to slower cognitive decline and a lower risk of developing AD dementia in older adults. The aim of the current study was to assess whether this diet is associated with cognition independent of brain pathologies in older adults.

The study examined the association between MIND Diet Score, brain pathologies, and cognitive functions in older adults from the Rush Memory and Aging Project.

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Data from 569 deceased (70% women) with an average age of 91 years and an average level of education of around 15 years were included. Their mean MIND diet score was 7.35 (standard deviation (SD) 1.42) (men 7.20; women 7.41; P = 0.11). Two-thirds of the group had a post-mortem diagnosis of AD, but only one-third were diagnosed with near-death clinical AD dementia based on National Institute on Aging (NIA) -Reagan criteria.

An SD increase in the MIND diet score was associated with a 0.119 unit higher cognitive score (β = 0.119, SE = 0.040, P = 0.003). The MIND diet score remained independently associated with cognition and the estimates did not change significantly (β = 0.111, SE = 0.037, P = 0.003) when the MIND diet and AD pathology were included in the same model.

The strength or significance of the association between the MIND diet with cognition and its independence from AD pathology was not changed after excluding 178 participants with mild cognitive impairment at the start of the study (β = 0.121, SE = 0.042, P = 0.005).

The MIND diet was also associated with better cognitive function near death in participants (n = 374) who had significant brain pathology and who met the NIA-Reagan consensus criteria for postmortem AD diagnosis (β = 0.114, SE = 0.050, P =. 023).

The analysis showed that an increase in the MIND diet score of 1 SD was associated with a slower cognitive decline of 0.012 units per year (β = 0.012, SE = 0.005, P = 0.022).

The researchers found that reliance on a self-reported diet was a limitation of their study. Additionally, the population consisted mostly of white patients who consented to annual assessments and post-mortem organ donation.

“Although we showed that the relationship between the MIND diet and cognition is independent of brain pathology, there was no evidence that the MIND diet score changes the associations of brain pathologies with cognition,” the researchers said. “Taken together, these results suggest that the mechanism by which the MIND diet supports cognitive resilience is not related to the level of pathology in the brain and that other neurobiological mechanisms have yet to be identified.”

Disclosure: Some of the study authors stated links with biotech, pharmaceutical, and / or device companies. For a full list of the author’s disclosures, see the original reference.


Dhana K, James BD, Agarwal P, et al. MIND Diet, Common Brain Pathologies, and Cognition in Older Adults Living in Community. J Alzheimers Dis. Published online September 14, 2021. doi: 10.3233 / JAD-210107

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