Edinburgh Imaging

18 Mar 22. Featured Paper

Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 79 years in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Link to paper on The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging



Michelle Luciano, J. Corley, M. C. Valdés Hernández, L. C. A. Craig, G. McNeill, M. E. Bastin, I. J. Deary, S. R. Cox & J. M. Wardlaw



Objectives: To test whether Mediterranean-type Diet (MeDi) at age 70 years is associated with longitudinal trajectories of total brain MRI volume over a six-year period from age 73 to 79.

Design: Cohort study which uses a correlational design.

Setting: Participants residing in the Lothian region of Scotland and living independently in the community.

Participants: A relatively healthy Scottish sample drawn from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936.

Measurements: Total brain volume measurements were available at ages 73, 76 and 79 (N ranged 332 to 563). Adherence to the MeDi was based on food frequency questionnaire data collected three years before the baseline imaging scans, and was used in growth curve models to predict the trajectory of total brain volume change.

Results: No association was found (p>.05) between adherence to the MeDi at age 70 and total brain volume change from 73 to 79 years in minimally-adjusted (sex) or fully adjusted models controlling for additional health confounders.

Conclusions: Variation in adherence to the MeDi was not predictive of total brain atrophy over a six-year period. This suggests that previous findings of dietary associations with brain volume are not long lasting or become less important as ageing-related conditions account for greater variation in brain volume change. More frequent collection of dietary intake data is needed to clarify these findings.


  • Brain atrophy
  • Brain volume
  • Longitudinal study
  • Trajectory model



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Featured paper: Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 79 years in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

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