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Open AccessArticle

Healthy Dietary Changes in Midlife Are Associated with Reduced Dementia Risk Later in Life

Division of Clinical Geriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, SE-17176 Stockholm, Sweden
Neuroepidemiology and Ageing Research Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London SW72BX, UK
Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Institute of Gerontology, School of Health and Welfare, Aging Research Network—Jönköping (ARN-J), Jönköping University, SE-55111 Jönköping, Sweden
Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Neurology, University of Eastern Finland, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland
Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland
Neurocenter, Department of Neurology, Kuopio University Hospital, FI-70029 Kuopio, Finland
Theme Aging, Karolinska University Hospital, SE-17176 Stockholm, Sweden
Research and Development Unit, Stockholms Sjukhem, 11219 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1649;
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 28 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lifestyle Strategies in Cognitive Decline: Focus on Nutrition)
Diet is an important modifiable lifestyle factor related to dementia risk. Yet, the role of midlife dietary changes is unclear. The goal is to investigate whether midlife healthy dietary changes are associated with late-life dementia risk. Data were collected within the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia (CAIDE) population-based cohort study (n = 2000) (mean baseline age = 56 years). Participants returned for two late-life re-examinations (mean age = 70 and 78 years). Self-reported midlife diet was measured in a sub-sample (n = 341) (mean total follow-up = 16.8 years). Changes in specific dietary components (fats, vegetables, sugar, salt) were measured in midlife. Dementia diagnoses were ascertained with detailed examinations. Analyses adjusted for potential confounders. Total midlife healthy dietary changes (improving quality of fats, increasing vegetables, decreasing sugar and salt) were associated with a reduced risk of dementia (fully adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.20–0.85). In contrast, when each factor was assessed individually, associations were not significant. This study is the first to show that beneficial midlife dietary changes are associated with a reduced dementia risk later in life. The results highlight the importance of targeting dietary patterns, where various food items may have synergistic effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: diet; dietary change; midlife protective factors; dementia; public health diet; dietary change; midlife protective factors; dementia; public health
MDPI and ACS Style

Sindi, S.; Kåreholt, I.; Eskelinen, M.; Hooshmand, B.; Lehtisalo, J.; Soininen, H.; Ngandu, T.; Kivipelto, M. Healthy Dietary Changes in Midlife Are Associated with Reduced Dementia Risk Later in Life. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1649.

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