HealthDay News — Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower dementia risk, independent of genetic risk, according to a study published online in BMC Medicine.

Oliver M. Shannon, PhD, from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues explored the associations between Mediterranean diet adherence using 2 different scores (Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener [MEDAS] continuous and Mediterranean Diet Pyramid [PYRAMID] scores) and incident all-cause dementia risk among 60,298 participants from the UK Biobank, followed for an average 9.1 years. Additionally, the interaction between diet and polygenic risk for dementia was examined.

The researchers found that higher Mediterranean diet adherence was associated with lower dementia risk (MEDAS continuous: hazard ratio, 0.77 [95% confidence interval, 0.65 to 0.91]; PYRAMID: hazard ratio, 0.86 [95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.02] for highest vs lowest tertiles). However, neither MEDAS continuous nor PYRAMID scores showed a significant interaction with polygenic risk for dementia.

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“In this large population-based prospective cohort study, higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with reduced dementia risk,” the authors write. “There was no clear evidence for an interaction with genetic risk. These results underline the importance of dietary interventions in future dementia prevention strategies regardless of genetic predisposition.”

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