Researchers evaluating the link between diet and risk for dementia have failed to confirm the role of saturated fat in higher risk of the mental illness.
The team at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam set out to examine whether both saturated and polyunsaturated fats could be linked to mental deterioration in the elderly. Previous findings, such as a study published recently in the BMJ, found that eating fish or seafood at least once a week can lower the risk of developing dementia.However the new study failed to reflect how fat and cholesterol may influence the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
The team assessed high intake of total fat, saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids and cholesterol, as well as low intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids on increased risk of dementia and its subtypes.
Data from the Rotterdam Study, a prospective cohort study among an elderly population, was gathered from almost 5400 patients who, at baseline (1990 to 1993), had normal cognition and were non-institutionalized. They completed questionnaires on their dietary habits. The cohort was continuously monitored for incident dementia, and re-examinations were performed in 1993 to 1994 and 1997 to 1999.
After a mean follow-up of 6 years, 197 subjects developed dementia. The researchers reported that there was no association between dietary fat and increased risk of dementia.