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Mediterranean diet interventions to prevent cognitive decline--opportunities and challenges.

ABSTRACT

Cognitive decline has a profound impact on the health and quality of life of older people and their caregivers. Exploring mechanisms to delay cognitive decline has become an urgent economic priority, given the projected changes in population demographics. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies suggest that adherence to a Mediterranean Diet (MD) is associated with reduced cognitive decline, but such an observation needs to be tested in randomised controlled trials. Intervention evidence is currently limited, and future studies need to be adequately powered, with careful attention given to choice of participants, outcomes being assessed, study duration and strategies to achieve compliance. Alongside these studies, consideration has to be given to how best promote and encourage dietary change in older people in general, and particularly in those experiencing the early stages of cognitive decline, as there may be specific factors that need to be considered when designing lifestyle behaviour change interventions in this group.