Mediterranean Diet and Dementia of the Alzheimer Type

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Abstract

Dementia of the Alzheimer type is the most common form of dementia affecting mostly the elderly population. It is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder with characteristic neuropathology and clinical symptomology. In the coming years, the number of individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) will increase as the elderly population worldwide is expected to grow significantly thus putting an added strain on national health care systems as well as caregivers who will inevitably carry most of the care burden. Thus it has been suggested that early intervention strategies which delay or halt the disease progression will have a strong impact on clinical outcomes. Changes in lifestyle habits such as diet modification or supplementation have been indicated as probable protective factors for a number of chronic conditions including AD. Particular attention has recently been devoted to the Mediterranean diet which is rich in the antioxidants Vitamins C and E, polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenolic compounds. Several in vitro, animal and population-based studies reported a positive effect between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and AD prevention, although contrasting views remain. This review will focus on the latest developments and findings in the ongoing research investigating the relationship between Mediterranean diet and its major constituents in AD onset and progression.

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