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Food for Thought for Alzheimer's Emerges in Mediterranean Diet

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - NEW YORK, Oct. 9 -- A Mediterranean-style diet -- spare on red meat and heavy on fruits, vegetables, and olive oil -- may help to fend off Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers here.

The effect was strongest in people who followed a Mediterranean-type diet most religiously, reported Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D., of Columbia University, and colleagues, in an early online release from the December issue of Archives of Neurology.

Also, the effect appeared to be independent of vascular risk factors, suggesting that the diet had non-vascular protective benefits, such as antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties, they wrote.

In a separate study, published by Swedish researchers in the October issue of Archives of Neurology, there was also evidence that dietary supplements containing a prominent Mediterranean diet component -- omega-3 fatty acids -- may reduce the rate of cognitive decline in people with the mildest Alzheimer's disease. Omega-3 didn't seem to slow the progression of more advanced forms of the dementia, they added.

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