The subjects were then divided into four groups based on their diet scores, with the lowest group scoring zero to four and the highest scoring nine or more.

Participants also completed three tests to examine their thinking and memory abilities. Cognitive impairment was defined as scores in the fifth percentile or below on two or three tests.


Cognitive disabilities affected 108 people or 19% of the total population.

Researchers found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet more closely had a 20% lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who did not.

In the lowest dietary score group, 43 of 133 people, or 34%, had cognitive impairment. However, there were 13 of 103 people, or 13%, in the highest dietary score group.

Those with progressive MS, in which the disease steadily worsens, had a stronger association than those with relapsing MS, in which the disease flares and then goes into remission.

What’s more, Katz Sand observed, the results were the same after the researchers carefully controlled for other factors that could potentially increase the risk of cognitive impairment, such as socioeconomic status, smoking, body mass index, high blood pressure, and exercise.

Mediterranean example

“Among health-related factors, level of dietary compliance with the Mediterranean pattern was the strongest predictor of people’s cognitive scores and whether they met study criteria for cognitive impairment,” Katz Sand said.

Longer studies that follow people over time and well-designed interventional clinical trials are needed to confirm the findings, he said. A disadvantage of the study was that the tests were administered only once.

Source: Medium

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