AAN: Mediterranean Diet Found to Benefit Older Adults

Infarct risk is significantly reduced in adults with moderate or high adherence to the diet
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who adhere to a Mediterranean diet (MeDi) rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat may have a reduced risk of cerebrovascular disease, according to a study released Feb. 8 in advance of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 10 to 17 in Toronto.

Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues studied 712 participants of the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project whose diets were assessed a median of 5.8 years before they received high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging.

Compared to participants in the lowest tertile of adherence to the MeDi, the researchers' unadjusted model found that the probability of having an infarct was significantly reduced in the middle and highest tertiles (21 and 36.1 percent, respectively).

"In both adjusted models, the strength of the association between MeDi adherence and infarct remained essentially unchanged," the authors write. "The association of high MeDi adherence with infarcts was comparable to that of hypertension (35 percent reduced probability), was stronger in women than men (45 percent versus 15.6 percent reduced probability for the highest MeDi adherence) and did not vary by infarct size or after excluding patients with dementia (n=46) or clinical strokes (n=88)."

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