Diet patterns and cognitive performance in a UK Female Twin Registry (TwinsUK)

McEvoy, Claire T., Jennings, Amy, Steves, Claire J., Macgregor, Alexander ORCID:, Spector, Tim and Cassidy, Aedin (2024) Diet patterns and cognitive performance in a UK Female Twin Registry (TwinsUK). Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, 16. ISSN 1758-9193

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Background: Plant-based diets may provide protection against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, but observational data have not been consistent. Previous studies include early life confounding from socioeconomic conditions and genetics that are known to influence both cognitive performance and diet behaviour. This study investigated associations between Mediterranean (MED) diet and MIND diets and cognitive performance accounting for shared genotype and early-life environmental exposures in female twins. Methods: Diet scores were examined in 509 female twins enrolled in TwinsUK study. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery was used to assess cognition at baseline and 10 years later (in n = 275). A co-twin case–control study for discordant monozygotic (MZ) twins examined effects of diet on cognitive performance independent of genetic factors. Differences in relative abundance of taxa at 10-year follow-up were explored in subsamples. Results: Each 1-point increase in MIND or MED diet score was associated with 1.75 (95% CI: − 2.96, − 0.54, p = 0.005 and q = 0.11) and 1.67 (95% CI: − 2.71, − 0.65, p = 0.002 and q = 0.02) fewer respective errors in paired-associates learning. Within each MZ pair, the twin with the high diet score had better preservation in spatial span especially for MED diet (p = 0.02). There were no differences between diet scores and 10-year change in the other cognitive tests. MIND diet adherence was associated with higher relative abundance of Ruminococcaceae UCG-010 (0.30% (95% CI 0.17, 0.62), q = 0.05) which was also associated with less decline in global cognition over 10 years (0.22 (95% CI 0.06, 0.39), p = 0.01). Conclusions: MIND or MED diets could help to preserve some cognitive abilities in midlife, particularly episodic and visuospatial working memory. Effects may be mediated by high dietary fibre content and increased abundance of short-chain fatty acid producing gut bacteria. Longer follow-up with repeated measures of cognition will determine whether diet can influence changes in cognition occurring in older age.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: TwinsUK is funded by the Wellcome Trust (FP7/2007–2013), Medical Research Council, European Union, the CDRF, the Denise Coates Foundation, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded BioResource, Clinical Research Facility and Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London.
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive performance,dietary patterns,gut microbiome,twins,neurology,clinical neurology,cognitive neuroscience ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2800/2808
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Nutrition and Preventive Medicine
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Norwich Institute for Healthy Aging
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Norwich Epidemiology Centre
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Norwich Epidemiology Centre
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Epidemiology and Public Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Musculoskeletal Medicine
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2024 18:27
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:27
DOI: 10.1186/s13195-024-01387-x


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