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AAN 2022 | The role of nutrition in dementia prevention

Hussein Yassine, MD, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, explains that there is a lack of evidence on the relationship between nutrition and dementia prevention, and outlines the steps needed to investigate this link. Most studies so far have not shown nutrient interventions to be associated with better cognitive outcomes. Yet, observational studies consistently demonstrate correlations between certain dietary habits and cognitive performance e.g., a Mediterranean diet being associated with better cognitive function. Efforts are needed to translate these observations into effective clinical trials to potentially combat dementia. One approach would be to perform a personalized small-scale study. For instance, taking a small nutrient depleted population (e.g., omega-3 deficient) and providing supplements to then look at many biomarkers or imaging of the brain to see improvements. An alternative approach would be a larger scale population study, which assesses the impact of an intervention on the ascertainment of a dementia diagnosis in people with risk factors for dementia, including vascular risk factors, diabetes, and obesity. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology 2022 Congress in Seattle, WA.