Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 79 years in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Michelle Luciano* (Corresponding Author), Janie Corley, Maria Del Carmen Valdés Hernández, Leone Craig, Geraldine McNeill, Mark E Bastin, Ian J. Deary, Simon R. Cox, Joanna Wardlaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objectives: To test whether Mediterranean-type Diet (MeDi) at age 70 years is associated with longitudinal trajectories of total brain MRI volume over a six-year period from age 73 to 79.
Design: Cohort study which uses a correlational design.
Setting: Participants residing in the Lothian region of Scotland and living independently in the community.
Participants: A relatively healthy Scottish sample drawn from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936.
Measurements: Total brain volume measurements were available at ages 73, 76 and 79 (N ranged 332 to 563). Adherence to the MeDi was based on food frequency questionnaire data collected three years before the baseline imaging scans, and was used in growth curve models to predict the trajectory of total brain volume change.
Results: No association was found (p>.05) between adherence to the MeDi at age 70 and total brain volume change from 73 to 79 years in minimally-adjusted (sex) or fully adjusted models controlling for additional health confounders.
Conclusions: Variation in adherence to the MeDi was not predictive of total brain atrophy over a six-year period. This suggests that previous findings of dietary associations with brain volume are not long lasting or become less important as ageing-related conditions account for greater variation in brain volume change. More frequent collection of dietary intake data is needed to clarify these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368–372
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health & Aging
Early online date17 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements: We thank the LBC1936 members and project staff.

Study Funding: The LBC1936 and this research are supported by Age UK (Disconnected Mind project), the UK Medical Research Council [MRC; G0701120, G1001245, MR/M013111/1, MR/R024065/1], and the University of Edinburgh. SRC, MEB, and IJD were also supported by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant R01AG054628. JMW, IJD are also supported by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (Ref 104036/Z/14/Z). MCVH is funded by the Row Fogo Charitable Trust (grant No. BROD.FID3668413). SRC was also supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (Grant Number 221890/Z/20/Z). Imaging and image analysis was performed at the Brain Research Imaging Centre (, Edinburgh, supported by the Scottish Funding Council SINAPSE Collaboration. LCAC acknowledges
4 Luciano funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) division. MVH is funded by the Row Fogo Charitable Trust Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain (Ref No: AD.ROW4.35. BRO-D.FID3668413). JMW received funding from the UK Dementia Research Institute which receives its funding from DRI Ltd, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.


  • brain atrophy
  • brain volume
  • longitudinal study
  • trajectory model
  • Brain atrophy
  • AGE


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