Exciting News:
We finally have a gold standard randomized clinical trial that shows positive significant results –eating a healthier diet significantly improves cognition.
Best part: this is part of a highly respected major clinical trial demonstrating huge results in reducing heart attacks and strokes in people with many risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and therefore also at greater risk for cognitive impairment and dementia.
Cavaet:  This is a smallish 7% subset, 522 people, out of the much larger study population of 7,500.  Still, 500 is a robust number for a multi-year, well documented clinical trial and should hopefully be sufficient to get our more cautious CDC and NIH scientists and staffers assigned to relaunch the “Healthy Brain Initiative”  to finally include nutrition in their program and recommendations.
Here are the key facts:
Special Cognitive Sub-Analysis of 522 older adults who were part of the larger Predimed-Navarra randomized clinical trial for heart health.
•44.6% men, age 74.6 ± 5.7 years at cognitive evaluation
•Single post-intervention cognitive assessment:  MMSE and Clock Drawing Test, after 6.5 years of being in nutrition study.
•Both those randomized to eating extra nuts or to extra EVOO had significantly better cognitive results than those on the low-fat control diet.  (many factors controlled for including APOE status, family hx dementia, diabetes, hypertension, smoking)
•+0.62 points on MMSE and 0.51 points on CDT for those on EVOO (p=.001)
•+0.57 points on MMSE and 0.33 points on CDT for those eating extra nuts (p=.015   & .048)
Citation:   Martinez-Lapiscina EH, Clavero P, Toledo E., Estruch R, …Martinez-Gonzalez MA et al. Mediterranean diet improves cognition: the PREDIMED-NAVARRA randomised trial.  J Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry May 13, 2013  (doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-304792)    (a journal affiliated with the British Medical Journal)
Go to Journal website to read the complete abstract:
Also check out NBC interview with the study leader, Dr. Matinez-Gonzalez about what features of the Mediterranean Diet might help explain the positive impact on brain health.  And no, we didn’t pay him to say any of this!  So supportive of the principles of the Memory Preservation Nutrition program, including its emphasis on foods that are anti-inflammatory, heavy duty anti-oxidants, use of nuts, olive oil and other foods with healthy fats, fiber, anti-oxidants, which also help lower blood sugar and cholestrol.

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