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Approved research

Effect of diet and diet-gene interactions on cognitive function and risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Principal Investigator: Ms Huifeng Zhang
Approved Research ID: 48684
Approval date: May 14th 2019

Lay summary

Currently the incidence of dementia especially Alzheimer's disease (AD) is increasing around the world but its causes and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Characterized by cognitive decline, these illnesses are irreversible and incurable. Although there is some existing evidence to suggest that some dietary patterns (e.g. Mediterranean diet, high-meat diet) could influence the risk of dementia, the results are still inconsistent and further research is required. Our aims are to assess the relationships between dietary patterns (high-meat/fat or Mediterranean or vegetarian diet) and cognitive functions in the full cohort of UK Biobank using baseline data, repeated diet diaries and measurements of cognitive functions and diagnoses of cognitive impairment. We will explore dietary factors influencing the progression of senile dementia or AD, as well as investigate the effects of diet-gene interactions. The proposed project will use statistical models to analyse existing data collected by UK Biobank and will take approximately 30 months to complete. Our research will provide powerful evidence for effects of diet on cognitive performance and throw new light on the aetiology of senile dementia and AD. In addition, our results can provide nutritionists or policymakers with more information to make related dietary recommendations. The public, especially AD susceptibility gene carriers, could be supported to prevent or delay cognitive decline or senile dementia by eating healthier and to improve quality of later life and save on future healthcare costs.