Nutrition Tied to Cognitive Decline, Cerebral Volume Loss

Omega-3 fatty acids and certain vitamins linked to better cognitive function

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly adults with high intake of B vitamins; vitamins C, D, and E; and omega-3 fatty acids, cognitive testing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrate less cognitive decline and cerebral volume loss, while high-trans-fat diets have the opposite effects, according to research published online Dec. 28 in Neurology.

Gene L. Bowman, N.D., M.P.H., of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues analyzed 30 biomarkers of diet from 104 aging adults (mean age, 87 ± 10 years) without dementia who underwent MRI and/or neuropsychological testing. Nutrient biomarker profiles (NBPs) were composed and regression models used to analyze their relationship to test results.

According to the researchers, better cognitive and MRI outcomes were seen in those with either of two NBPs: high plasma levels of B vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E, and diets high in omega-3 fatty acids. The NBP for diets high in trans fat was linked to worsened cognitive decline and less overall cerebral volume.

"Distinct nutrient biomarker patterns detected in plasma are interpretable and account for a significant degree of variance in both cognitive function and brain volume. Objective and multivariate approaches to the study of nutrition in brain health warrant further study. These findings should be confirmed in a separate population," the authors write.

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