High consumption of whole grain foods decreases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease: Framingham Offspring Cohort

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2023 Mar;77(3):141-148. doi: 10.1111/pcn.13509. Epub 2022 Dec 21.


Aims: To examine the longitudinal associations between total and individual whole grain (WG) food intake and the risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia.

Methods: This study included 2958 subjects (mean age at baseline was 61 ± 9 years) from the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Standardized interviews, physician examinations, and laboratory tests were collected approximately every 4 years, and the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) was conducted in cycle 5. Proportional hazards models and cubic spline regression examined associations between WG foods and all-cause dementia and AD dementia.

Results: Over an average of 12.6 years of follow-up, there were 322 dementia cases, of which 247 were AD dementia. After multivariate and dietary adjustments, individuals with the highest category for total WG food consumption had a lower risk of all-cause dementia [HR 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51-0.81] and AD dementia (HR 0.60, 95% CI 0.46-0.78) than individuals with the lowest category. The results remained comparable in different subgroups stratifying for age, sex, education, body mass index, and smoking status without significant interaction. Moreover, these inverse associations were seen for most individual WG foods except popcorn. A nonlinear dose-response association was shown between total WG intake and all-cause dementia and AD dementia, where the rate reduction slightly plateaued at more than one and two servings/day, respectively.

Conclusions: Higher consumption of total and several common individual WG foods was strongly associated with a lower risk of all-cause dementia and AD dementia.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Framingham heart study Offspring Cohort; dementia; population-based; whole grain foods.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Whole Grains