15 June 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Biological age (BA) is the hypothetical underlying age of an organism and has been proposed as a more powerful predictor of health than chronological age (CA). The difference between BA and CA (Deltaage) reflects the rate of biological aging, with lower values indicating slowed-down aging. We sought to compare the relationship of four a priori-defined dietary patterns, including a traditional Mediterranean diet (MD) and three non-Mediterranean diets, with biological aging (Deltaage) among Italian adults. We also examined distinctive nutritional traits of these diets as potential mediators of such associations.

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis on a sub-cohort of 4510 subjects (aged >/=35 y; 52.0% women) from the Moli-sani Study (enrolment, 2005-2010). Food intake was recorded by a 188-item semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. A Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was used as exposure and compared with non-Mediterranean dietary patterns, i.e. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Palaeolithic and the Nordic diets. A Deep Neural Network based on 36 blood biomarkers was used to compute BA and the resulting Deltaage (BA-CA), which was tested as outcome in multivariable linear regressions adjusted for clinical factors, lifestyles and sociodemographic factors.

RESULTS: In a multivariable-adjusted model, 1 standard deviation increase in the MDS was inversely associated with Deltaage (beta = -0.23; 95%CI -0.40, -0.07), and similar findings were observed with the DASH diet (beta = -0.17; 95%CI -0.33, -0.01). High dietary polyphenol content explained 29.8% (p = 0.04) and 65.8% (p = 0.02) of these associations, respectively, while other nutritional factors analysed (e.g. dietary fibre) were unlikely to be on the pathway. No significant associations were found with either the Palaeolithic or the Nordic diets.

CONCLUSIONS: Increasing adherence to either the traditional MD or the DASH diet was associated with delayed biological aging, possibly through their high polyphenol content.

23 November 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Due to medical advances and lifestyle changes, population life expectancy has increased. For this reason, it is important to achieve healthy aging by reducing the risk factors causing damage and pathologies associated with age. Through nutrition, one of the pillars of health, we are able to modify these factors through modulation of the intestinal microbiota.

The Mediterranean and Oriental diets are proof of this, as well as the components present in them, such as fiber and polyphenols. These generate beneficial effects on the body thanks, in part, to their interaction with intestinal bacteria. Likewise, the low consumption of products with high fat content favors the state of the microbiota, contributing to the maintenance of good health.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Some of the previously reported health benefits of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption may derive from health status influencing alcohol consumption rather than the opposite. We examined whether health status changes influence changes in alcohol consumption, cessation included.

METHODS: Data came from 571 current drinkers aged >/=60 years participating in the Seniors-ENRICA cohort in Spain. Participants were recruited in 2008-2010 and followed-up for 8.2 years, with four waves of data collection. We assessed health status using a 52-item deficit accumulation (DA) index with four domains: functional, self-rated health and vitality, mental health, and morbidity and health services use. To minimise reverse causation, we examined how changes in health status over a 3-year period (wave 0-wave 1) influenced changes in alcohol consumption over the subsequent 5 years (waves 1-3) using linear/logistic regression, as appropriate.

RESULTS: Compared with participants in the lowest tertile of DA change (mean absolute 4.3% health improvement), those in the highest tertile (7.8% worsening) showed a reduction in alcohol intake (beta: -4.32 g/day; 95% CI -7.00 to -1.62; p trend=0.002) and were more likely to quit alcohol (OR: 2.80; 95% CI 1.54 to 5.08; p trend=0.001). The main contributors to decreasing drinking were increased functional impairment and poorer self-rated health, whereas worsening self-rated health, onset of diabetes or stroke and increased prevalence of hospitalisation influenced cessation.

CONCLUSIONS: Health deterioration is related to a subsequent reduction and cessation of alcohol consumption contributing to the growing evidence challenging the protective health effect previously attributed to low-to-moderate alcohol consumption

25 August 2020 In Dementia

Coffee, wine and chocolate are three frequently consumed substances with a significant impact on cognition. In order to define the structural and cerebral blood flow correlates of self-reported consumption of coffee, wine and chocolate in old age, we assessed cognition and brain MRI measures in 145 community-based elderly individuals with preserved cognition (69 to 86 years).

Based on two neuropsychological assessments during a 3-year follow-up, individuals were classified into stable-stable (52 sCON), intermediate (61 iCON) and deteriorating-deteriorating (32 dCON). MR imaging included voxel-based morphometry (VBM), tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and arterial spin labelling (ASL).

Concerning behavior, moderate consumption of caffeine was related to better cognitive outcome. In contrast, increased consumption of wine was related to an unfavorable cognitive evolution. Concerning MRI, we observed a negative correlation of wine and VBM in bilateral deep white matter (WM) regions across all individuals, indicating less WM lesions.

Only in sCON individuals, we observed a similar yet weaker association with caffeine. Moreover, again only in sCON individuals, we observed a significant positive correlation between ASL and wine in overlapping left parietal WM indicating better baseline brain perfusion.

In conclusion, the present observations demonstrate an inverse association of wine and coffee consumption with cognitive performances. Moreover, low consumption of wine but also moderate to heavy coffee drinking was associated with better WM preservation and cerebral blood-flow notably in cognitively stable elders.

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