MIND diet and the risk of dementia: a population-based study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Adherence to the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet has been linked to a decreased risk of dementia, but reverse causality and residual confounding by lifestyle may partly account for this link. We aimed to address these issues by studying the associations over cumulative time periods, which may provide insight into possible reverse causality, and by using both historical and more contemporary dietary data as this could give insight into confounding since historical data may be less affected by lifestyle factors. Methods: In the population-based Rotterdam Study, dietary intake was assessed using validated food frequency questionnaires in 5375 participants between 1989 and 1993 (baseline I) and in a largely non-overlapping sample in 2861 participants between 2009 and 2013 (baseline II). We calculated the MIND diet score and studied its association with the risk of all-cause dementia, using Cox models. Incident all-cause dementia was recorded until 2018. Results: During a mean follow-up of 15.6 years from baseline I, 1188 participants developed dementia. A higher MIND diet score at baseline I was associated with a lower risk of dementia over the first 7 years of follow-up (hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] per standard deviation (SD) increase, 0.85 [0.74, 0.98]), but associations disappeared over longer follow-up intervals. The mean follow-up from baseline II was 5.9 years during which 248 participants developed dementia. A higher MIND diet score at baseline II was associated with a lower risk of dementia over every follow-up interval, but associations slightly attenuated over time (HR [95% CI] for 7 years follow-up per SD increase, 0.76 [0.66, 0.87]). The MIND diet score at baseline II was more strongly associated with the risk of dementia than the MIND diet score at baseline I. Conclusion: Better adherence to the MIND diet is associated with a decreased risk of dementia within the first years of follow-up, but this may in part be explained by reverse causality and residual confounding by lifestyle. Further research is needed to unravel to which extent the MIND diet may affect the risk of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Rotterdam Study is funded by Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University, Rotterdam; Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development (ZonMw); the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE); the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports; the European Commission (DG XII); and the Municipality of Rotterdam. This study was partly performed as part of the Netherlands Consortium of Dementia Cohorts (NCDC), which receives funding in the context of Deltaplan Dementie from ZonMW Memorabel (projectnr 73305095005) and Alzheimer Nederland. The funding source had no role in the study design, collection, analysis, interpretation of the data, writing of the report, or decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'MIND diet and the risk of dementia: a population-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this