Caloric intake and the risk of Alzheimer disease

Arch Neurol. 2002 Aug;59(8):1258-63. doi: 10.1001/archneur.59.8.1258.


Background: Diet may play a role in Alzheimer disease (AD).

Objective: To examine the association between caloric intake and AD.

Methods: Elderly individuals free of dementia at baseline (N = 980) were followed for a mean of 4 years. Daily intake of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein were recalled using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire administered between the baseline and first follow-up visits. Proportional hazards models were used to examine the associations of quartiles of intake and incident AD, adjusting for confounders.

Results: There were 242 incident cases of AD during 4023 years of follow-up (6 cases per 100 person-years). Compared with individuals in the lowest quartile of caloric intake, those in the highest quartile had an increased risk of AD (hazard ratio, 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-2.2). Among individuals with the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele, the hazard ratios of AD for the highest quartiles of calorie and fat intake were 2.3 (95% CI, 1.1-4.7) and 2.3 (95% CI, 1.1-4.9), respectively, compared with the lowest quartiles. The hazard ratios of AD for the highest quartiles of calorie and fat intake compared with the lowest quartiles in individuals without the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele were close to 1 and were not statistically significant (P =.83 and P =.61, respectively).

Conclusion: Higher intake of calories and fats may be associated with higher risk of AD in individuals carrying the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diet therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Dietary Fats
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Dietary Fats