The Valls-Pedret et al. (2015) article reviews the correlation between the age-related cognitive decline and the Mediterranean diet. Age decline is one of the most common reasons for cognitive degradation and decline in older adults, and its presence increases exponentially as the person is getting older. For example, at the age of 65, only up to 5% of people have been clinically diagnosed with age-related cognitive decline, whereas by 85 years and older that percentile increases up to 40% (Murman, 2015). The gradual progression of cognitive decline is hard to determine at once, so, scientists are trying to find the tools and means for prevention or avoidance or age-related cognitive decline. One of such tools is the Mediterranean diet because it is in dairy products and junk food, and is high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and olive oil (Whiteman, 2017). The Valls-Pedret et al. (2015) research suggests that the age-related cognitive decline is partially provoked by vascular impairment and oxidative stress that are correlated with the development of dementia. Since the Mediterranean diet is recognized for its anti-oxidant properties and cardioprotective effects, Valls-Pedret et al. (2015) conducted empirical research to confirm the efficacy of the Mediterranean dietary pattern in delaying cognitive decline.
Valls-Pedret et al. (2015) conducted a parallel-group randomized clinical trial in Barcelona, Spain, that included 447 healthy volunteers during the period of October 1, 2003, – December 31, 2009. The trial started with the neuropsychological assessment of the volunteers to confirm their correspondence to the inclusion criteria. The repetitive assessment of the participants was conducted at the end of the trial. The experiment suggested a random assignment procedure of the participants to three categories: 1) a control fat-reducing diet, 2) a Mediterranean diet accompanied with mixed nuts, and 3) a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with the extra virgin olive oil (Valls-Pedret et al., 2015). The conducted clinical trial was conducted by the PREDIMED trial subcohort protocol that assisted in the formation of a sample group and estimation of exclusion criteria. The evaluation of cognitive function of the participants was conducted by an experienced neuropsychologist who assessed the volunteers’ brain function by the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) for rating of the immediate and delayed episodic memory, a Wechsler Memory Scale subtests for assessing the performance of episodic memory, and the Mini-Mental State Examination for global cognitive function assessment (Valls-Pedret et al., 2015).
Statistical analysis was applied to measure the results of the trial. The assessment analysis of variables and obtained data was conducted based on the variance analysis (ANOVA), covariance analysis (ANCOVA), and, when appropriate, X2 tests. The postintervention changes in the subjects were assessed with the use of ANOVA and ANCOVA. The initial neuropsychological evaluation was conducted in 447 participants, 113 of which (23.5%) dropped out of the second assessment. The maintaining amount of the participants kept to their assigned diets with the increased consumption of the extra virgin olive oil instead of the common olive oil, enhanced nut consumption, and control common Mediterranean diet. The reviewed interventions were found to have no significant effect on depression. Cognitive scores in all groups were4 estimated to improve compared to the baseline assessment. The beneficence of the Mediterranean diet was found to be independent of the demographic variables like sex and age, cognition-related variables, energy intake, vascular risk factors, etc. The Mediterranean diet fortified with nuts had enhanced memory of the participants, whereas the group supplemented with the extra virgin olive oil demonstrated the improved global cognition and frontal function. Olive oil consumption was found irrelevant for cognitive functions. Valls-Pedret et al. (2015) justify the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in age-related cognitive decline prevention by the abundance of anti-inflammatory agents and anti-oxidants that are contained in the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet improves the vascular system which is beneficial for the reduction of cognitive decline and prevention of dementia development.
To conclude, the Mediterranean diet’s effects on cognitive functions of the aging population are proved to be correlated with the anti-oxidant impact of the diet. The article offers an extensive explanation of the Mediterranean diet effects and the comprehensive evidence of how the components of the diet facilitate cognitive decline prevention.
- Murman, D. L. (2015). The impact of age on cognition. Seminars in Hearing, 36(3), 111-121. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1555115
- Valls-Pedret, C., Sala-Vila, A., Serra-Mir, M., Corella, D., de la Torre, R., Martinez-Gonzelez, M. A., … Ros, E. (2015). Mediterranean diet and age-related cognitive decline. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(7), 1094-1103. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.1668
- Whiteman, H. (2017, July 31). Cognitive decline could be reduced with a Mediterranean-style diet. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318685.php