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Med diet may help prevent Alzheimer's

18th April 2006

US researchers claim that eating a Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

The scientists from the Columbia University Medical Center studied 2,200 people over four years, with their food intake during that period given a Mediterranean score of between one and nine.

High Mediterranean diets would include low levels of meat and dairy products with a concentration on vegetables, fruit, cereals in addition to small amounts of alcohol and fish.

Each point on the scale was found to be worth a ten per cent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's, with those with the highest scoring Mediterranean diets seeing their risk levels lowered by 40 per cent compared to people with poor ratings.

The findings, reported in the Annals of Neurology, have been hailed as an important development by the UK's Alzheimer's Society.

The organisation's director of research, Professor Clive Ballard, told the BBC: "This large study in a leading journal adds to the growing weight of evidence that diet and lifestyle are very important risk factors for Alzheimer's disease."

It is thought that one in five people in the UK over the age of 80 suffers from dementia.