The association of dietary and nutrient patterns on neurocognitive decline: A systematic review of MRI and PET studies

Lizanne Arnoldy*, Sarah Gauci, Lauren M. Young, Wolfgang Marx, Helen Macpherson, Andrew Pipingas, Oren Civier, David J. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: As the global population ages, there has been a growing incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. More recently, studies exploring the relationship between dietary patterns and neuroimaging outcomes have received particular attention. This systematic literature review provides a structured overview of the association between dietary and nutrient patterns on neuroimaging outcomes and cognitive markers in middle-aged to older adults. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to find relevant articles published from 1999 to date using the following databases Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science. The inclusion criteria for the articles comprised studies reporting on the association between dietary patterns and neuroimaging outcomes, which includes both specific pathological hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases such as Aβ and tau and nonspecific markers such as structural MRI and glucose metabolism. The risk of bias was evaluated using the Quality Assessment tool from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The results were then organized into a summary of results table, collated based on synthesis without meta-analysis. After conducting the search, 6050 records were extracted and screened for eligibility, with 107 eligible for full-text screening and 42 articles ultimately being included in this review. The results of the systematic review indicate that there is some evidence suggesting that healthy dietary and nutrient patterns were associated with neuroimaging measures, indicative of a protective influence on neurodegeneration and brain ageing. Conversely, unhealthy dietary and nutrient patterns showed evidence pointing to decreased brain volumes, poorer cognition and increased Aβ deposition. Future research should focus on sensitive neuroimaging acquisition and analysis methods, to study early neurodegenerative changes and identify critical periods for interventions and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101892
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


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