What Is the MIND Diet? And Can It Prevent Dementia?

From the New York Times, Alice Callahan discusses the MIND Diet and the disappointing results of a clinical trial. Alice writes:

In various studies that have tracked older adults’ eating patterns across many years, researchers have found that those who adhere most closely to the MIND diet tend to have slower rates of cognitive declinereduced risks of dementia and fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains after death than those who don’t.

Such results have been “promising,” said Debora Melo van Lent, an assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. But these studies can’t prove that the MIND diet itself leads to better brain health. For that, she said, you’d need a clinical trial.

However, the results were disappointing, said Dr. Hussein Yassine, an associate professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. The two groups had similar improvements on cognitive tests, and brain scans did not find major differences associated with cognitive decline.

Dr. Agarwal, who was one of the study’s authors, said this may have been a result of the study’s design and factors outside of the researchers’ control. The group that followed their typical diet, for instance, ended up consuming many components of the MIND diet, and each group lost weight, which may have contributed to similar improvements in cognitive function.

Eating patterns are complex and challenging to control, Dr. Agarwal said, noting, “It’s not as black and white as a drug trial.”

Still, Dr. Yassine said, while there were some issues with the trial’s design, the MIND diet might benefit brain health, particularly if followed for many decades. But it will take better-designed trials to prove it, he said.

Read the full story at What Is the MIND Diet? And Can It Prevent Dementia? – The New York Times

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  • Nathan S. Gibson

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