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Mediterranean diet and structural neuroimaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular disease: A systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Shannon, Professor Emma Stevenson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Previous studies have demonstrated an association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and better cognitive performance, lower incidence of dementia and lower Alzheimer's disease biomarker burden. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence base for MedDiet associations with hippocampal volume and white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV). We searched systematically for studies reporting on MedDiet and hippocampal volume or WMHV in MedLine, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycInfo. Searches were initially carried out on 21st July 2021 with final searches run on 23rd November 2022. Risk of bias was assessed using the NIH Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies. Of an initial 112 papers identified, seven papers were eligible for inclusion in the review reporting on 21,933 participants. Four studies reported on hippocampal volume, with inconclusive or no associations seen with MedDiet adherence. Two studies found a significant association between higher MedDiet adherence and lower WMHV, while two other studies found no significant associations. Overall these results highlight a gap in our knowledge about the associations between the MedDiet and AD and cerebrovascular related structural neuroimaging findings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gregory S, Pullen H, Ritchie CW, Shannon OM, Stevenson EJ, Muniz-Terrera G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Gerontology

Year: 2022

Volume: 172

Print publication date: 01/02/2023

Online publication date: 19/12/2022

Acceptance date: 14/12/2022

Date deposited: 20/12/2022

ISSN (print): 0531-5565

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6815

Publisher: Elseiver


DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2022.112065


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Funder referenceFunder name
MR/T001852/1Medical Research Council (MRC)