Studying the brain on the MIND diet

The National Institute of Aging will spend $14.5 million to see whether a diet can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

"Though we know that there is a strong link between what a person eats and health, dietary intervention trials to examine whether a change in diet will help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have been largely neglected," says Martha Clare Morris, SCD, nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center and principal study investigator, in a press release. "The results of this study should help us to improve brain health by developing new dietary guidelines for clinical use and for public health education."

Two previous studies found the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet could slow cognitive decline and reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease even without strict adherence.

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets, which have both been found to reduce the risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Morris and her colleagues at Rush and Harvard University developed the diet to see what effects foods have on brain functioning over time.

Related: A diet you’ll want to follow

The NIA grant will support a randomized five-year Phase III trial of 600 people who are at least 65 years old, overweight and have poor diets. The study is also receiving $2 million in grant support from Nestle Health Institute and food donations by the High Bush Blueberry Council, the Peanut Institute, the International Tree Nut Council and the California Olive Ranch.

Read more about the study here

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia