Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Medical Sciences/Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care
The world’s population is growing older due to improved healthcare and nutrition. As a result, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevalence is rapidly increasing. The focus of the current research climate is shifting from understanding AD pathology and diagnosis to primary prevention and intervention strategies. Diet represents one potential intervention strategy accessible to all. Accumulating evidence suggests diet plays a major role in risk and development of AD and AD-related chronic diseases of the periphery like cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. This paper reviews studies that have explored the relationship between “a priori” dietary patterns, AD and AD-related chronic disease risk. The dietary patterns we will review are the healthy eating index, healthy diet indicator, recommended food score, and the Mediterranean diet (MeDi). Our review of the literature suggests a generally positive association between healthy diet patterns, AD and AD-related chronic disease risk; however the magnitude of the protective effect is modest in many studies. Consequently, we can only confidently conclude that the MeDi is associated with reduced AD risk, and further studies on the remaining indices need to be carried out. It is our opinion that a combination of dietary scores could predict overall dietary quality and chronic disease risk to a greater extent than one score individually. Analysis in multi-ethnic cohorts, investigating combinations of scores must be completed before firm conclusions can be reached on the ideal combination of scores. Obtaining further insight into the association between dietary patterns, AD and AD-related chronic disease risk may help in prioritizing public health efforts and provide a stronger basis for recommendations to improve dietary patterns.