WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Closer adherence to the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED) is associated with a reduced risk for cognitive decline, but not with slower decline in cognitive function, according to a study published online April 13 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Tiarnán D. Keenan, M.D., Ph.D., from the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues conducted an observational analysis of 7,756 participants enrolled in two randomized trials of nutritional supplements for age-related macular degeneration: Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2. The authors sought to examine whether adherence to the aMED was associated with altered cognitive function.

The researchers found that for aMED tertile 3 versus 1, the odds ratios for cognitive impairment were 0.36 for Modified Mini-Mental State and 0.56 for a composite score (an overall score for the whole battery) in AREDS, and 0.56 and 0.48, respectively, for Telephone Interview Cognitive Status-Modified and a composite score in AREDS2. There was an association seen for fish intake with higher cognitive function. Over five to 10 years, the rate of cognitive decline was not significantly different by aMED in AREDS2, but was significantly slower with higher fish intake.

“These findings may help inform evidence-based dietary recommendations, adding strength to evidence that Mediterranean-type diet patterns may maximize cognitive reserve against impairment and dementia,” the authors write.

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