Mediterranean diet, micronutrients and macronutrients, and MRI measures of cortical thickness

Sara C. Staubo, Jeremiah A. Aakre, Prashanthi Vemuri, Jeremy A. Syrjanen, Michelle M. Mielke, Yonas E. Geda, Walter K. Kremers, Mary M. Machulda, David S. Knopman, Ronald C. Petersen, Clifford R. Jack, Rosebud O. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Introduction The Mediterranean diet (MeDi) is associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment, but it is unclear whether it is associated with better brain imaging biomarkers. Methods Among 672 cognitively normal participants (mean age, 79.8 years, 52.5% men), we investigated associations of MeDi score and MeDi components with magnetic resonance imaging measures of cortical thickness for the four lobes separately and averaged (average lobar). Results Higher MeDi score was associated with larger frontal, parietal, occipital, and average lobar cortical thickness. Higher legume and fish intakes were associated with larger cortical thickness: legumes with larger superior parietal, inferior parietal, precuneus, parietal, occipital, lingual, and fish with larger precuneus, superior parietal, posterior cingulate, parietal, and inferior parietal. Higher carbohydrate and sugar intakes were associated with lower entorhinal cortical thickness. Discussion In this sample of elderly persons, higher adherence to MeDi was associated with larger cortical thickness. These cross-sectional findings require validation in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Cortical thickness
  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Diet
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Legumes
  • Macronutrients
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Nutrition
  • Structural brain changes
  • Sugar
  • Vitamins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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