The AAIC2015 research conference sponsored by the national Alzheimer’s Association in late July this year offered some dramatic new proof that brain healthy nutrition and other lifestyles not only reduce risk of AD and cognitive decline but can slow progression in early AD and MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment).


   Exciting Research Results from AAIC    2015: Nutrition and Exercise


The most exciting study was an Australian 3 year cohort study with neuroimaging reported that people following a Mediterranean style showed lower rates of Beta Amyloid buildup in their brains than people who did not.

Confirming previous clinical trial results published by other  groups (Spanish Predimed Diet Study and Finnish FINGER trial), Dr. SR Rainey-Smith reported results of an Australian longitudinal cohort study using PiB PET scans* reported at the July 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference that people who ate foods typical of a Mediterranean style diet (as determined using Nikos Scarmeas’s MeDI point methods) had dramatically lower levels of beta amyloid accumulating in their brains over a three-year period than did those who did not eat such foods. In addition, people who ate less meat and more grains (meat/grain ratio), also had less accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain scans. Fish, vegetables and certain other foods typical of the Mediterranean diet also were associated with less accumulation of beta-amyloid. READ AAIC abstract below:

*PiB PET Scan: (a type of imaging, using  Pittsburg Compound B in positron emission tomography, that is able to see build-up of one of the two problem proteins implicated in development of Alzheimer’s disease)

Brain Healthy Diet Lowers Beta-Amyloid in Human Brains: Australian Neuroimaging Study:

Stephanie Rainey-Smith

AbstractMediterranean Diet


Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith

Adherence Is Associated with Less Cerebral Amyloid Accumulation over Time: Data from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing

Background: Identification of lifestyle and dietary modifications which prevent or delay cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) would confer significant social and economic benefit. Yet, there is a relative lack of large-scale longitudinal investigations of lifestyle-related factors impacting cognitive decline and AD-related pathology. The Mediterranean diet (MeDi), has been widely recognised as a healthy eating model due to its correlation with low morbidity and mortality for many chronic diseases. In the context of AD, accumulating research including our own has linked MeDi adherence with slower cognitive decline and reduced risk of AD. However, only one study to date has examined the relationship between MeDi adherence and cerebral amyloid load, with the authors reporting reduced cerebral amyloid load cross-sectionally among individuals with high MeDi adherence. There is a critical need to further explore the relationship between MeDi and brain amyloid levels using longitudinal data collected from a well-characterised ageing cohort.

Methods: We report on data collected over 36 months from cognitively healthy control participants (n=119) of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Study of Ageing. The Cancer Council of Victoria Food Frequency Questionnaire was used to generate a MeDi score for each participant at baseline. Cerebral amyloid load was quantified by Pittsburgh Compound B positron emission tomography at baseline, 18 and 36 months. The relationship between MeDi adherence and cerebral amyloid load was evaluated longitudinally using Analysis of Variance, correlations and Generalised Linear Models (age, gender, education and Apolipoprotein E ε4 carriage were included in the models).

Results: Individuals with high MeDi adherence demonstrated less cerebral amyloid accumulation over 36 months compared to those with low adherence (0.04 vs. 0.08 mean change cerebral amyloid load respectively; p=0.008).

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the relationship between MeDi adherence and cerebral amyloid burden longitudinally. Our results suggest that MeDi adherence is associated with reduced cerebral AD pathology. When our results are considered collectively with previous data linking the MeDi to slower cognitive decline, it appears that MeDi adherence warrants further investigation in the quest to delay AD onset.

Citation: Rainey-Smith SR, Gu Y,   Gardener SL, Villemagne VL, Laws SM, Brown BM, Taddei K,   Sohrabi HR, Weinborn M, Ames D,   Ellis KA,   Macaulay SL,   Masters CL,   Rowe CC, Scarmeas N, Martins RN and The AIBL Research Group. Mediterranean Diet Adherence Is Associated with Less Cerebral Amyloid Accumulation over Time: Data from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing. Presented July 22, 2015 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC-2015) in Washington D.C.



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