Diet may be a Modifiable Risk Factor for Cognitive Decline in African Americans and Caucasians at High Risk for Developing Alzheimer's Disease: A Pilot Study of the Southern and Prudent Diets. Open Access

Nutaitis, Alexandra Caroline (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/12579s505?locale=en
Published

Abstract

Importance: African Americans are 64% more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than Caucasians, though the reason for this difference is not clear. Investigating dietary patterns as a modifiable risk factor applicable to African Americans and Caucasians has the potential to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Objective: To determine the influence of the Southern dietary pattern and the prudent dietary pattern on cognitive performance in individuals at high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease due to age, parental history of AD, and race.

Design/Setting: Observational pilot study.

Participants: 66 cognitively normal, healthy, African American and Caucasian individuals aged 46-77 years with a parental history of Alzheimer's disease.

Main Outcome and Measure: Food Frequency questionnaire, comprehensive vascular risk assessments, and cognitive assessments.

Results: Caucasians performed significantly better on 3 of the 8 cognitive assessments. We report a correlation between foods characteristic of the Southern diet and worse cognitive performance in African Americans. Individuals who reported diets that aligned with the prudent dietary pattern performed better on cognitive testing than those who did not align with the prudent dietary pattern.

Conclusion and Relevance: Dietary patterns are easily modified and current research suggests that even late life dietary pattern modification can result in favorable health outcomes. It is possible that the increased prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in African Americans could be lessened through diet modification.

Table of Contents

Abstract. 1

Introduction. 3

Methods. 6

Results. 10

Discussion. 11

Tables and Figures. 18

Table 1: Participant Demographics. 18

Table 2: Cardiovascular Data for All Participants. 19

Table 3: Cognitive Data for All Participants. 20

Table 4: Pearson's r Correlations between Cognition and Southern Diet by Ethnicity for individuals who completed FFQ. 21

Figure 1: Pearson's r Correlations between Cognition and Southern Diet by Ethnicity for individuals who completed FFQ. 22

Table 5: Pearson's r Correlations between Cognition and Prudent Diet by Ethnicity for individuals who completed FFQ. 23

Figure 2: Pearson's r Correlations between Cognition and Prudent Diet by Ethnicity for individuals who completed FFQ. 24

References. 25

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