MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke

Credit: Olena Sergienko/ Unsplash.

Scientists from Rush University Medical Center found that the MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.

A stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack or cerebrovascular accident, happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked.

This prevents the brain from getting oxygen and nutrients from the blood. Without oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die within minutes. Sudden bleeding in the brain can also cause a stroke if it damages brain cells.

A stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

Cognitive impairment and memory loss are common after a stroke. Approximately 30% of stroke patients develop dementia within 1 year of having a stroke.

Previous research has found that stroke was linked to declines in cognition, new learning, and verbal memory early after stroke as well as accelerated and persistent declines in cognition and thinking ability over the years after the event.

The Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, or MIND diet, targets the health of the aging brain.

In 2015, Dr. Martha Clare Morris and colleagues at Rush University Medical Center and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health published two papers introducing the MIND diet.

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and Dash diets, with modifications based on the science of nutrition and the brain.

In the current study, researchers aimed to determine if the MIND diet is effective in preventing cognitive decline after stroke.

They analyzed 106 people who had completed a diet assessment and two or more annual cognitive tests and who also had a clinical history of stroke.

Dietary components of the MIND diet included whole grains, leafy greens, and other vegetables, berries, beans, nuts, lean meats, fish, poultry, and olive oil, and reduced consumption of cheese, butter, fried foods, and sweets.

The researchers found that people with the highest MIND diet scores had a lower risk of cognitive decline over an average of 5.9 years of follow-up compared with people with the lowest MIND diet scores.

They conclude that high adherence to the MIND diet is linked to a slower rate of cognitive decline after stroke.

The research was published in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and conducted by Cherian L et al.

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