Background: MIND diet, a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, is associated with a slower cognitive decline and lower risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia in older adults.
Objective: We aim to examine whether the association of the MIND diet with cognition is independent of common brain pathologies.
Methods: Utilizing data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP), a longitudinal clinical-pathologic study, we studied 569 decedents with valid dietary data, cognitive testing proximate to death, and complete autopsy data at the time of these analyses. A series of regression analyses were used to examine associations of the MIND diet, dementia-related brain pathologies, and global cognition proximate to death adjusting for age, sex, education, APOEɛ4, late-life cognitive activities, and total energy intake.
Results: A higher MIND diet score was associated with better global cognitive functioning proximate to death (β= 0.119, SE = 0.040, p = 0.003), and neither the strength nor the significance of association changed substantially when AD pathology and other brain pathologies were included in the model. The β-estimate after controlling for global AD pathology was 0.111 (SE = 0.037, p = 0.003). The MIND diet-cognition relationship remained significant when we restricted our analysis to individuals without mild cognitive impairment at the baseline (β= 0.121, SE = 0.042, p = 0.005) or in people diagnosed with postmortem diagnosis of AD based on NIA-Reagan consensus recommendations (β= 0.114, SE = 0.050, p = 0.023).
Conclusion: MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functioning independently of common brain pathology, suggesting that the MIND diet may contribute to cognitive resilience in the elderly.
Keywords: Amyloid-β; MIND diet; brain pathology; cognition.