September 30, 2007
Mediterranean Diet Appears To Lengthen Survival Of Alzheimer's Patients

People with Alzheimer's Disease who ate a Mediterranean diet (more monounsaturated fats, more fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, less meat and dairy) lived 4 years long than those not on a the Mediterranean diet.

Scarmeas' group found that patients whose consumption habits most closely tracked that of the Mediterranean diet were 76 percent less likely to die in the study period than those whose food intake least mimicked the diet.

Compared with those whose diets most closely resembled a Western diet, Alzheimer's patients who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet lived an average of four years longer.

A more moderate degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet still translated into extra 1.3 years of survival, the researchers said. That's equal to a 29 percent to 35 percent reduced risk for dying during the study period.

The same Columbia University Medical Center team led by Nikolaos Scarmeas previously reported that the Mediterranean diet appears to lower the risk of getting Alzheimer's in the first place.

Compared to the third of people who scored worst on the Mediterranean diet scores, those in the mid-ranking group had a 15% to 21% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, and those with the highest score had a 39% to 40% lower risk.

Also see this abstract of some of their previous work on this topic.

The Mediterranean diet is a more doable kind of diet than a lot of others. It doesn't eliminate fats. It just shifts which ones you eat. Ditto for carbs. A lot of people can eat a Mediterranean diet without feeling heavily deprived. But you have to commit to doing it. Cook the beans, buy the nuts and seeds. Switch from polyunsaturated oils to monounsaturates like olive oil and canola. Also, cut back on meat and dairy and eat more fish.

Periodically I try to find ways to improve my diet. It is already pretty good. But I just ordered a flax seed grinder. I'll let you all know how flax seed grinding works out.

Update: Reminder: Not excited about the notion of eating a better diet in order to slow the inevitable decay of old age? Feel like, hey, what's the point? The point is to live long enough to still have a functioning mind when rejuvenation therapies become available. Yes, the rejuvenation therapies are coming. They aren't distant science fiction prospects. We'll have at least some useful stem cell therapies in 10 years and many more in 20 years. We will have gene therapies and methods for growing replacement organs too. Hang in there and slow the decay. Eventually it'll be possible to reverse the decay.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 September 30 09:26 PM  Aging Diet Brain Studies

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