NIA awards grant to study MIND diet for Alzheimer’s disease
The National Institute of Aging recently granted $14.5 million to researchers conducting a study on a dietary intervention, the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, for Alzheimer’s disease.
“The best way to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the [Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND)] diet and reductions in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease is to conduct a large-scale randomized trial like this one,” study researcher Martha Clare Morris, ScD, of Rush University Medical Center, said in a press release. “We hope to show that the MIND diet intervention is an effective strategy for preventing Alzheimer's disease.”
Based on previous research regarding food and nutrients’ effect on brain functioning, Morris and colleagues created the MIND diet, a hybrid of the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
Mediterranean and DASH diets have been shown to reduce risk for hypertension, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
The MIND Diet Intervention to Prevent Alzheimer’s disease is a randomized, 5-year, phase 3 trial that will be conducted among 600 individuals aged 65 years and older who are overweight and have suboptimal diets.
All study participants will receive dietary counseling. Those receiving the MIND intervention will follow the diet plus mild caloric restriction for weight loss. The control group will follow their usual diet plus mild caloric restriction for weight loss.
All participants will have individualized diet plans, regular phone and in-person consultations and group cooking sessions during the 3-year intervention period.
Cognition, blood pressure, diet, physical activity, health events, medication use and tissue specimens will be collected at five time points.
A subsample of 300 participants will undergo brain MRI at baseline and 3 years later.
The study also received a $2 million grant from Nestle Health Institute and food donations from High Bush Blueberry Council, the Peanut Institute, the International Tree Nut Council and the California Olive Ranch.
“Though we know that there is a strong link between what a person eats and health, dietary intervention trials to examine whether a change in diet will help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other dementias have been largely neglected,” Morris said in the release. “The results of this study should help us to improve brain health by developing new dietary guidelines for clinical use and for public health education.”
Study enrollment will begin in fall 2016.