Monounsaturated, Trans, and Saturated Fatty Acids and Cognitive Decline in Women

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Impact Factor: 4.57). 05/2011; 59(5):837-43. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03402.x
Source: PubMed


To prospectively assess effects of select dietary fats on cognitive decline.
Prospective observational; 3-year follow-up.
Northwestern University.
Four hundred eighty-two women aged 60 and older who participated in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study or in the control group of the WHI Diet Modification arm.
Dietary intake from a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) administered twice (mean 2.7 years apart) before baseline cognitive assessment (mean 2.9 years after second FFQ) was averaged. Testing of memory, vision, executive function, language, and attention was performed twice, 3 years apart. A global Z-score was created for both time points by averaging all Z-scores for each participant, and global cognitive change was defined as the difference between follow-up and baseline Z-scores.
Median intake of saturated fat (SFA), trans-fat, (TFA), dietary cholesterol (DC), and monounsaturated fat (MUFA) was 18.53, 3.45, 0.201, and 19.39 g/d, respectively. There were no associations between degree of cognitive decline and intake of SFA (P=.69), TFA (P=.54), or DC (P=.64) after adjusting for baseline cognition, total energy intake, age, education, reading ability, apolipoprotein E ɛ4 allele, body mass index, estrogen and beta-blocker use, and intake of caffeine and other fatty acids. In contrast, MUFA intake was associated with lower cognitive decline in fully adjusted linear regression models, with mean decline (standard error) of 0.21 (0.05) in the lowest and 0.05 (0.05) in the highest quartiles (P=.02). This effect of MUFA intake was primarily in the visual and memory domains (P=.03 for both).
Greater intake of SFA, TFA, and DC was not associated with cognitive decline, whereas greater MUFA intake was associated with less cognitive decline.

Download full-text


Available from: Asghar Z Naqvi, Oct 05, 2015
15 Reads
  • Source
    • "Of course, there are several observational studies, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, that support positive rather than negative associations between MUFA and cognitive function (Solfrizzi et al., 2006; Naqvi et al., 2011; Okereke et al., 2012). Moreover, enhanced MUFA intake was found to be associated with better cognition in a randomized controlled trial (Martinez-Lapiscina et al., 2013). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: High intakes of fat have been linked to greater cognitive decline in old age, but such associations may already occur in younger adults. We tested memory and learning in 38 women (25-45 years old), recruited for a larger observational study in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. These women varied in health status, though not significantly between cases (n=23) and controls (n=15). Performance on tests sensitive to medial temporal lobe function (CANTABeclipse, Cambridge Cognition Ltd.), i.e. verbal memory, visuo-spatial learning and delayed pattern matching, were compared with intakes of macronutrients from 7-day diet diaries and physiological indices of metabolic syndrome. Partial correlations were adjusted for age, activity and verbal IQ (National Adult Reading Test). Greater intakes of saturated and trans fats, and higher saturated to unsaturated fat ratio (Sat:UFA), were associated with more errors on the visuo-spatial task and with poorer word recall and recognition. Unexpectedly, higher UFA intake predicted poorer performance on the word recall and recognition measures. Fasting insulin was positively correlated with poorer word recognition only, whereas higher blood total cholesterol was associated only with visuo-spatial learning errors. None of these variables predicted performance on a delayed pattern matching test. The significant nutrient-cognition relationships were tested for mediation by total energy intake: saturated and trans fat intakes, and Sat:UFA, remained significant predictors specifically of visuo-spatial learning errors, whereas total fat and UFA intakes now predicted only poorer word recall. Examination of associations separately for mono- (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats suggested that only MUFA intake was predictive of poorer word recall. Saturated and trans fats, and fasting insulin, may already be associated with cognitive deficits in younger women. The findings need extending but may have important implications for public health.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 12/2013; 7:838. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00838 · 2.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that MUFA, and oleic acid in particular, may also have anti-inflammatory effects (Galland, 2010). Recent longitudinal studies support the hypothesis that MUFA may play a protective role toward the development of cognitive decline and dementia (Naqvi et al., 2011; Vercambre et al., 2010). In particular, a large RCT study on long term supplementation with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)—a good source of MUFA—showed significant improvement in verbal fluency and episodic memory, and reduced incidence of MCI, in the supplemented group as compared to controls (Martinez- Lapiscina et al., 2013b). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive decline in elderly people often derives from the interaction between aging-related changes and age-related diseases and covers a large spectrum of clinical manifestations, from intact cognition through mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Epidemiological evidence supports the hypothesis that modifiable lifestyle-related factors are associated with cognitive decline, opening new avenues for prevention. Diet in particular has become the object of intense research in relation to cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disease. We reviewed the most recent findings in this rapidly expanding field. Some nutrients, such as vitamins and fatty acids, have been studied longer than others, but strong scientific evidence of an association is lacking even for these compounds. Specific dietary patterns, like the Mediterranean diet, may be more beneficial than a high consumption of single nutrients or specific food items. A strong link between vascular risk factors and dementia has been shown, and the association of diet with several vascular and metabolic diseases is well known. Other plausible mechanisms underlying the relationship between diet and cognitive decline, such as inflammation and oxidative stress, have been established. In addition to the traditional etiological pathways, new hypotheses, such as the role of the intestinal microbiome in cognitive function, have been suggested and warrant further investigation.
    Mechanisms of ageing and development 12/2013; 136-137. DOI:10.1016/j.mad.2013.11.011 · 3.40 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and MUFA derivatives have anti-inflammatory effects in vivo [100, 101], and derivatives of MUFA, including low molecular weight phenols, were reported to have antioxidant effects [102]. Data from a prospective study suggested that higher intake of monounsaturated fatty acid is associated with less cognitive decline [103]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that accounts for the major cause of dementia, and the increasing worldwide prevalence of AD is a major public health concern. Increasing epidemiological studies suggest that diet and nutrition might be important modifiable risk factors for AD. Dietary supplementation of antioxidants, B vitamins, polyphenols, and polyunsaturated fatty acids are beneficial to AD, and consumptions of fish, fruits, vegetables, coffee, and light-to-moderate alcohol reduce the risk of AD. However, many of the results from randomized controlled trials are contradictory to that of epidemiological studies. Dietary patterns summarizing an overall diet are gaining momentum in recent years. Adherence to a healthy diet, the Japanese diet, and the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of AD. This paper will focus on the evidence linking many nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns to AD.
    06/2013; 2013(3):524820. DOI:10.1155/2013/524820
Show more