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Eating Mediterranean prolongs Alzheimer's patient lives

Eating a Mediterranean diet rather than a Western diet may help people with Alzheimer's Disease live for longer, research suggests.

A study of 192 people with Alzheimer's disease found that those who ate a lot of vegetables, fruits, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids were 76% less likely to die than those who ate a diet high in saturated fat and meats.

"The more closely people followed the Mediterranean diet, the more they reduced their mortality," said study author Nikos Scarmeas at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, USA.

"For example, Alzheimer's patients who adhered to the diet to a moderate degree lived an average 1.3 years longer than those people who least adhered to the diet.

"And those Alzheimer's patients who followed the diet very religiously lived an average four years longer."

Earlier research by Scarmeas and his colleagues found that healthy people have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's if they eat a Mediterranean diet.

"New benefits of this diet keep coming out," he says.

"We need to do more research to determine whether eating a Mediterranean diet also helps Alzheimer's patients have slower rates of cognitive decline, maintain their daily living skills, and have a better quality of life."

Related story: Alzheimer's "food link" probed

American Academy of Nuerology