International Stroke Conference

International Stroke Conference

February 11, 2018
2 min read

MIND diet may benefit stroke survivors

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The MIND diet, a hybrid of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, and Mediterranean diets, was associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline in stroke survivors, according to findings presented at the International Stroke Conference.

“The foods that promote brain health, including vegetables, berries, fish and olive oil, are included in the MIND diet,” Laurel J. Cherian, MD, vascular neurologist and assistant professor in the department of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center, said in a press release. “We found that it has the potential to help slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors.”

According to the study background, the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet includes regular consumption of whole grains, leafy greens and other vegetables, berries, beans, nuts, fish, poultry and olive oil, as well as reduced consumption of red meat and red meat products, cheese, butter, sweets and fried or fast food.

Cherian and colleagues analyzed 106 stroke survivors from an observational prospective cohort study. Each participant had a MIND diet score calculated based on responses to a food frequency questionnaire. The cohort was stratified into tertiles based on MIND diet score.

The primary outcome was change in global cognitive score. Mean follow-up was 4.7 years.

After adjustment for age, compared with those in the lowest tertile of MIND diet score, those in the highest tertile had a slower rate of global cognitive decline (beta = 0.08; P = .02), according to the researchers.

The results remained significant after further adjustment for sex, education, apolipoprotein E4, late-life cognitive activity, caloric intake, physical activity and smoking (beta = 0.08; P = .03), Cherian and colleagues found.

In the fully adjusted model, there was a trend toward those in the middle tertile of MIND scores having slower rate of global cognitive decline vs. those in the lowest tertile (beta = 0.06; P = .09).

“The Mediterranean and DASH diets have been shown to be protective against coronary artery disease and stroke, but it seems the nutrients emphasized in the MIND diet may be better suited to overall brain health and preserving cognition,” Cherian said in the release. “I like to think of the MIND diet as a way to supercharge the nutritional content of what we eat. The goal is to emphasize foods that will not only lower our risks of heart attack and stroke, but make our brains as resilient as possible to cognitive decline.” – by Erik Swain


Cherian LJ, et al. Abstract 152. Presented at: International Stroke Conference; Jan. 23-26, 2018; Los Angeles.

Disclosure: Cherian reports no relevant financial disclosures.