Mediterranean Diet Linked to Reduced Small Vessel Damage in the Brain

15 Feb 2012 --- “Studies have suggested that consumption of a MeDi (Mediterranean Diet) is associated with a reduced risk of the metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, stroke and cognitive disorders, but no studies to date, to our knowledge, have found an association between a MeDi and WMH volume (WMHV).”

Feb 15 2012 --- Consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a reduced white matter hyperintesity volume, a marker of small vessel damage in the brain, according to a study led by Miller School researchers, which was published in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) visible on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are markers of chronic small vessel damage, according to background information in the article. “Although diet may be an important predictor of vascular disease, little is known about the possible association between dietary habits and WMHs,” said Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S, the report’s senior author who is associate professor of neurology and scientific director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the Miller School. “Studies have suggested that consumption of a MeDi (Mediterranean Diet) is associated with a reduced risk of the metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, stroke and cognitive disorders, but no studies to date, to our knowledge, have found an association between a MeDi and WMH volume (WMHV).”

Lead author Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., epidemiologist in the Miller School’s Department of Neurology and a co-investigator in the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, and colleagues evaluated data from 966 participants in the Northern Manhattan Study to examine the association between a MeDi and WMHV. Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire to assess dietary patterns during the previous year, and answers were used to determine a MeDi compliance score. The WMHV was measured by quantitative brain MRI.

Results of the survey showed that 11.6 percent of participants scored 0 to 2 on the MeDi scale, 15.8 percent scored 3, 23 percent scored 4, 23.5 percent scored 5, and 26.1 percent scored 6 to 9. Women had lower MeDi scores than men and participants who reported moderate to heavy levels of physical activity were more likely to report greater consumption of a MeDi. Participants with MeDi scores of 6 or higher also had lower BMI.

These results suggest a lower burden of WMHV among participants with a greater consumption of a MeDi. This association was independent of sociodemographic and vascular risk factors including physical activity, smoking, blood lipid levels, hypertension, diabetes, history of cardiac disease and BMI. Additionally, after adjustment, the only component of the MeDi score that was independently associated with WMHV was the ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat.

“In summary, the current study suggests a possible protective association between increased consumption of a MeDi and small vessel damage,” Wright concluded. “The associations with WMHV may be driven by the favorable ratio of monounsaturated fat consumption over saturated fat. However, the results of the analysis of the individual MeDi scale components suggest that the overall dietary pattern, rather than any of the individual components, may be more etiologically relevant in relation to WMHV.”

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the American Heart Association, and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute.

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Food for Thought: UK Teenagers Losing Learning Time Due to Hunger

27 Jun 2017 --- Teenage pupils in high school can lose around 51 minutes’ worth of vital learning time a day because their concentration levels dip due to hunger. This is according to the results of a survey conducted in the UK by Kellogg’s. The survey results show that 82 percent of teachers in Britain have seen teens arriving at school hungry every day. And nearly four in 10 teachers believed one reason children in their class were hungry was due to their parents being unable to afford food for breakfast.

Business News

Key Interview: Algatech Targets Synergistic Effects to Advance Microalgae Industry

27 Jun 2017 --- Interest in microalgae has surged over the past decade, and as a result, a growing number of companies have sought to develop new products and technologies to harness the myriad health benefits these unicellular species provide. And according to Algatechnologies, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of microalgae’s potential benefits and applications. 

Nutrition & Health News

Heightened Risk in Rice? Toxicity of Thioarsenates for Plants Uncovered

27 Jun 2017 --- Although it is a staple food in many regions of the world, rice sometimes contains levels of arsenic that are hazardous to our health. An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Bayreuth has now discovered that there are arsenic compounds which have a toxic effect on plants and yet had not previously been considered in connection with chemical analyses of rice and the estimated health risks for humans. The research concerns thioarsenates, compounds made up of arsenic and sulphur, which may be present in rice fields more often than previously assumed. 

Nutrition & Health News

Nanoparticles as Food Additives due for Risk Reassessment: Researchers

27 Jun 2017 --- The anticaking agent E551 silicon dioxide, or silica, has been used widely in the food industry over the past 50 years, and was long thought to be quite safe. Now, however, researchers working on the National Research Programme “Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials” have discovered that these nanoparticles can affect the immune system of the digestive tract.

Business News

Buhler Awarded Contract to Support Food Fortification Program in Pakistan

26 Jun 2017 --- To support the fortification of staple foods in Pakistan, the UK-based Food Fortification Program has awarded Bühler a multi-million contract to supply more than 1000 micro feeders in 2017 and 2018. The program is funded with US$48 million from the UK’s Department for International Development. By directly supporting local mills and food factories, the program is aiming to have a substantial impact on the well-being of close to 100 million people.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/Mediterranean-Diet-Linked-to-Reduced-Small-Vessel-Damage-in-the-Brain.html