Objectives: There is increasing evidence for a protective role of nutritional factors on cognitive decline. Many studies have reported a preventive effect of specific dietary patterns, in particular of the Mediterranean diet (MD), on the risk of cognitive decline, but only limited evidence is available about its effects on neuropsychological performance. The aim of this work is to evaluate the relationship between nutrition and cognitive performance in a frail elderly population living in Northern Italy. Methods: In this study we have investigated the impact of the Mediterranean dietary pattern on cognitive performance in a frail elderly population (n = 140). Structural equation modeling was applied to highlight the interrelationship between three cognitive domains: i) Verbal Fluency; ii) Attention/executive function; iii) Memory, and two MD factors: i) Nutrition; ii) Anthropometric/physical activity. In addition, the Multiple Correspondence Analysis was performed to detect the food and nutrients with the highest association with MD and nutritional status. Results: In our sample, 54% of subjects have a medium-high adherence to MD and only 4% have a risk of malnutrition. The variable Nutrition was significantly associated (p < 0.001) with the cognitive domain Attention/executive function, with an increase in Nutrition directly associated with a better performance in Attention/executive function. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence of an association between good nutritional status, related to a high adherence to the MD, and cognitive performance in a non-clinical elderly population living in Northern Italy.

The Impact of Nutrition on Cognitive Performance in a Frail Elderly Population Living in Northern Italy

Stefano F. Cappa
2022-01-01

Abstract

Objectives: There is increasing evidence for a protective role of nutritional factors on cognitive decline. Many studies have reported a preventive effect of specific dietary patterns, in particular of the Mediterranean diet (MD), on the risk of cognitive decline, but only limited evidence is available about its effects on neuropsychological performance. The aim of this work is to evaluate the relationship between nutrition and cognitive performance in a frail elderly population living in Northern Italy. Methods: In this study we have investigated the impact of the Mediterranean dietary pattern on cognitive performance in a frail elderly population (n = 140). Structural equation modeling was applied to highlight the interrelationship between three cognitive domains: i) Verbal Fluency; ii) Attention/executive function; iii) Memory, and two MD factors: i) Nutrition; ii) Anthropometric/physical activity. In addition, the Multiple Correspondence Analysis was performed to detect the food and nutrients with the highest association with MD and nutritional status. Results: In our sample, 54% of subjects have a medium-high adherence to MD and only 4% have a risk of malnutrition. The variable Nutrition was significantly associated (p < 0.001) with the cognitive domain Attention/executive function, with an increase in Nutrition directly associated with a better performance in Attention/executive function. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence of an association between good nutritional status, related to a high adherence to the MD, and cognitive performance in a non-clinical elderly population living in Northern Italy.
2022
Mediterranean diet
Nutrition
cognitive performance
executive function
frailty
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/13537
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