Diet, Physical Activity and Risk of Alzheimer's Studied Two studies explore role of eating pattern, physical activity in Alzheimer's, cognitive decline 13 aug 2009-- Following a Mediterranean diet and getting more physical activity may be associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and slower cognitive decline, according to the results of two studies in the Aug. 12 Journal of the American Medical Association.
In the first study, Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D., of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from older people free of dementia who were followed for a mean 5.4 years. Researchers assessed their physical activity and adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet. The Mediterranean-type diet (hazard ratio for high score versus low score, 0.60) and physical activity (hazard ratio for high activity versus no activity, 0.67) were associated with lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
In the other study, Catherine Feart, Ph.D., of the Universite Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 in France, and colleagues analyzed data from older adults without dementia at baseline who were re-examined at least once over five years. Greater adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet was associated with slower cognitive decline on the Mini-Mental State Examination but not several other cognitive tests.
"The scientific value of these studies cannot be disputed, but whether and how they can or should be translated into recommendations for the public is the question. For now, it is reasonable to nibble on these findings and savor them, but not to swallow them whole," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.
The study that generated data for the Feart article is conducted under a partnership agreement that includes Sanofi-Aventis; the editorial author reported financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies and the American Academy of Neurology.