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Neurology AdvisorOlive Oil Intake and Dementia-Related Mortality: What’s the Link?

Higher daily olive oil intake is associated with a significant reduction in dementia-related deaths, independent of overall diet quality, suggesting potential neuroprotective effects of olive oil.

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open highlights a significant association between higher olive oil intake and reduced risk of dementia-related mortality. Researchers conducted a prospective cohort study involving US adults from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study to examine how olive oil consumption impacts dementia-related death risk, independent of overall diet quality. The findings suggest that incorporating olive oil into daily dietary habits may have potential cognitive health benefits.

Key Points:

  • Study Design: Prospective cohort study involving 92,383 US adults from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
  • Participants: Women registered nurses aged 30-55 and men health professionals aged 40-75.
  • Data Collection: Dietary intake assessed every 4 years using validated food frequency questionnaires; adherence to the Mediterranean diet evaluated using AMED and AHEI scores.
  • Follow-up Period: Totaling 2,183,095 person-years, with 4,751 dementia-related deaths recorded.
  • Findings: Daily intake of at least 7 g of olive oil linked to a 28% lower risk of dementia-related mortality (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.64-0.81; P <.001).
  • Diet Quality: The reduction in dementia-related death risk was observed regardless of overall diet quality.
  • APOE ε4 Allele Impact: The risk of dementia-related death was 5 to 9 times higher for individuals with the APOE ε4 allele, but the protective effect of olive oil persisted even after adjusting for APOE ε4.
  • Substitution Effects: Replacing 5 g of margarine/mayonnaise with olive oil daily resulted in an 8-14% reduction in dementia mortality risk; no significant effect observed with substitutions involving other vegetable oils or butter.
  • Diet Scores: Average olive oil intake was 1.3 g/day; Mediterranean diet adherence scores were 4.5 (NHS) and 4.2 (HPFS); AHEI diet quality scores were 52.5 (NHS) and 53.4 (HPFS).
  • Limitations: Possibility of reverse causation due to the observational nature of the study.

A recent study assessed the association between the highest level of adherence to the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) and the likelihood of developing dementia. The main results suggest that the highest adherence to the MedDiet is associated with an approximate 11% reduction in the likelihood of developing dementia in a population of 65,955 older adults.

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