Effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet: can it help delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease?J Alzheimers Dis. 2010; 20(3):795-801.JA
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by cognitive and memory deterioration, with an increasing prevalence in the industrialized countries and an extraordinary cost of caring for patients. Due to the limited information available on the exact pathophysiology of the disease, over the last years there have been extensive efforts on the identification of possible risk factors, but no conclusive data have been obtained. Some risk factors have been identified but no clear evidence on what is clearly associated with the occurrence and progression of AD are available, and in particular no effective preventive strategies have been found. One of the most intriguing and appealing lines of investigation is the association between lifestyle habits such as diet and dietary compounds and the occurrence of AD. In this review, we focus on studies that investigated the association between nutrition and AD, paying particular attention to the role of a dietary pattern such as a Mediterranean-like diet on the occurrence of such disease. Studies in support of Mediterranean diet as an optimal diet for prevention of cardiovascular and major chronic diseases has rapidly evolved. A recent meta-analysis from our group, comprising prospective studies that investigated the association between adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status, showed a significant association between a greater adherence to Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of major chronic degenerative diseases, including AD. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet has been extensively reported to be associated with a favorable health outcome and a better quality of life.