Education attenuates the association between dietary patterns and cognition.

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.
Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.81). 03/2009; 27(2):147-54. DOI: 10.1159/000199235
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Various foods have been shown to be associated with cognitive outcomes. As individual food items are not consumed in isolation, we examined the association between dietary patterns and cognitive function, with special attention to the role of education in this association.
Analyses were carried out on 4,693 stroke-free white European participants of the Whitehall II study. Two dietary patterns were determined using principal component analysis: a 'whole food' and a 'processed food' pattern. Cognitive function was assessed using a battery of 5 tests.
After adjustment for demographic, behavioral and health measures, higher intake of 'whole food' diet was associated with lower and high consumption of 'processed food' with higher odds of cognitive deficit. However, adjustment for education significantly attenuated most of these associations.
Education, through its role as a powerful confounder, shapes the relationship between dietary patterns and cognitive deficit in a healthy middle-aged UK cohort.

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