Health Updates

Greater Dietary Diversity Helps Prevent Hippocampal Atrophy

A recent Japan study has discovered that greater dietary diversity appears to preserve hippocampal volume and may help prevent atrophy.

Research covered 1,683 participants with ages 40-89 years, where 50.6% were men, in whom dietary intake was evaluated using 3-day dietary records and scored using the Quantitative Index for Dietary Diversity. T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging was used to track longitudinal changes in hippocampal and total gray matter volumes.

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Participants were grouped into quintiles of dietary diversity scores, experts found that baseline gray matter volumes were comparable across the categories, with values ranging from 574.72 to 578.04 cm3. Same was true for baseline hippocampal volume where range was 8.685 to 8.827 cm3.

The dietary diversity at baseline associated with the change in hippocampal volume over 2 years of follow-up. In the lowest quintile, for instance, the percentage reduction from baseline was 1.32%. This reduced progressively with increasing diet diversity, such that at quintiles four and five, the percentage reduction values from baseline were 0.81% and 0.85%, correspondingly.

Experts said that eating a variety of foods may be a new effective nutritional strategy to prevent hippocampal atrophy among community dwellers. It is possible that a 2-year longitudinal study might be insufficient not only to evaluate morphological changes but also to detect cognitive decline. More longitudinal studies and studies including non-Asians are needed to confirm any association between dietary diversity and brain atrophy and cognitive function.


Source: Eur J Clin Nutr 2021;75:946-953

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