The Mediterranean diet may reduce cognitive impairment

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The Mediterranean diet may also have cognitive benefits. Vera Lair/Stocksy
  • Researchers analyzed the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cognitive impairment among patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • They found that close adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment.
  • More studies are needed to confirm the results.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the brain and central nervous system. Symptoms include fatigue, problems with movement, and numbness.

around 2.8 million People with MS are worldwide, and females are twice as likely as men to develop the condition.

Studies show that Certain diets And other lifestyle factors may improve the quality of life for MS patients. One study, for example, found that the Mediterranean diet may have a neuroprotective effect against disability in MS.

The cause of MS is unknown, and there is currently no cure. Treatments usually focus on relieving symptoms and slowing progression.

The Mediterranean diet is a varied diet that contains minimally processed foods, limited amounts of red meat, and moderate amounts of dairy and poultry products. It contains a high percentage of:

  • Fish
  • vegetables
  • All cereal
  • legumes
  • the fruit
  • Monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil

More research into how dietary factors affect MS could improve quality of life among patients with the condition.

Researchers recently studied the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cognition in patients with multiple sclerosis.

They found that strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment.

“Cognitive impairment may affect more than 50 percent of people with MS and there are currently no effective drug treatments,” Barbara Gesser, a neurologist and multiple sclerosis specialist at the Pacific Neurosciences Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., non. Participate in the study, tell Medical news today.

“A lifestyle strategy that can help protect or maintain normal cognitive function will be very important in helping people with MS live their lives better,” she added.

The study was presented at the 75th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, the researchers recruited 563 people with MS. They each completed a questionnaire to record how well they followed the Mediterranean diet. Scores ranged from 0-14. The participants were divided into different groups: those who scored 0-4 adhered the least to the Mediterranean diet, while those who scored nine and above adhered to the diet the most.

The participants also underwent three tests to assess their thinking and memory skills. Of these tests, they found that 108 participants, or 19.2%, had cognitive impairment.

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that patients who followed the Mediterranean diet closely had a 20% lower risk of developing cognitive impairment than those who adhered to it less.

The relationship remained after controlling for confounding factors including demographic factors and health factors including sleep disorders, diabetes and high blood pressure.

“Among health-related factors, the level of dietary alignment with the Mediterranean lifestyle was the strongest predictor of people’s cognitive scores and whether they met the study’s criteria for cognitive impairment,” said study author Dr. Ilana Katz-Sand of Icahn. Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY, and member of the American Academy of Neurology, in a news release.

This way of eating provides a high-quality diet that contains not only essential nutrients, but also a variety of natural elements. vital activities Which is increasingly under investigation for its role in protecting against cognitive decline,” Megan Pendleton, MD, who was not involved in the study, told MNT.

It is suggested that oxidative stress plays a major role in MS, causing cell damage and neurodegeneration. [Hypotheses suggest] that the mediterranean diet provides vital elements that may protect against oxidative stress, or provide other protective mechanisms.

the mechanisms by which [Mediterranean] Diet may help protect cognition, including potential anti-inflammatory or antioxidant effects, reduce comorbidities that may affect cognition such as high blood pressure, and replace healthy foods with foods that may contribute to comorbidities or negatively affect cognition at all times. for example. “Processed foods,” Dr. Gesser added.

“This kind of study design gives insight into the associations, but not the exact mechanism of how [the] Pendleton noted that the diet may confer benefits.

Observational studies have been important in this regard, Pendleton said, “to help create hypotheses for testing [but] Future interventional clinical trials will help clarify our understanding and enhance our ability to make specific recommendations.”

“There is currently a lack of long-term intervention trials when it comes to nutrition approaches for different brain health outcomes, including MS. We know in other areas of brain health research where nutrition is used as an intervention, such as dementia, that there are often contradictions. between findings from observational and intervention studies.

“Therefore, while this study certainly contributes to our current understanding of how diet relates to MS, we must be patient and careful in extrapolating to meaning or clinical significance,” she said.

Pendleton noted that research into nutrition and multiple sclerosis is still in its infancy, which means more studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn.

“[I] You don’t see any downside to someone adopting the Mediterranean diet anyway – it’s a health-promoting way of eating, and it can be beneficial for reducing risk and managing other conditions.”
– Megan Pendleton, RD

However, she points out that there is still no clear definition of what the Mediterranean diet is, and that the diet is less about specific foods, and more about general eating patterns.

“This is an important point because the diet has to be culturally flexible to incorporate traditional foods from all types of cuisines. Sometimes, I think caregivers can really miss the mark on this, inadvertently making ethnocentric recommendations that may end up being insensitive.” cultural and beneficial to patients.”

The Mediterranean diet may reduce cognitive impairment

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