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Those With MS Might Avoid Cognitive Issues With A Mediterranean Diet

1 month ago

1753  0
Posted on Jun 13, 2024, 6 a.m.

Those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who adhere to a Mediterranean Diet are less likely to show signs of cognitive impairment compared to those with the condition who don’t follow the top-ranking diet which is linked to numerous health benefits. 

The study presented at the Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston suggests that the diet has a protective effect on cognition in people with MS, preventing or even treating cognitive symptoms in those with the condition.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Although it is difficult to precisely state how many people have MS, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) estimates that 250,000 to 350,000 Americans are living with MS. However, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society suggests that number is conservatively low and estimates that as many as 1 million people could be living with MS. 

MS is an unpredictable autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system which includes the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. It can affect different areas of the body and the symptoms depend on where inflammation and damage are occurring at any specific time. Symptoms vary from person to person and can change from day to day and year to year. 

Multiple sclerosis disrupts the flow of information within the brain as well as between the brain and body. Symptoms can include but are not limited to fatigue, pain, tingling, vision impairment, bladder issues, bowel problems, tremors, mobility issues, mood changes, and memory difficulties. Over half of people with MS will experience impairments related to memory, attention span, and processing speed.

Examining the protective effect of the Mediterranean Diet 

For this study, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai-New York recruited 563 participants with multiple sclerosis under the age of 65 years old.

The participants provided information about their dietary habits to determine how closely they followed a Mediterranean diet on a scale of 0 as low and 14 as high adherence. Participants also underwent 3 cognitive tests, in which scoring below the fifth percentile on at least two indicated cognitive impairment

After adjusting for various factors, the analysis revealed that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment. 34% of the 133 participants who scored between 0 and 4 on the diet questionnaire had cognitive impairment, compared to 13% of the 103 who scored higher than 9.

Moving in that direction

While more research is required to understand the mechanism and elucidate how dietary changes may impact MS over time, the researchers believe that it could be related to the gut microbiome. These findings are in line with other research demonstrating that molecules generated by gut bacteria can reduce inflammation which could exacerbate the symptoms of MS. 

“Diet has a big influence on the composition of bacteria that live in the gut and is also a big determinant of what those bacteria produce,” said Ilana Katz Sand at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “We can’t say based on this study that if you eat this way, your cognition is going to get better. But this is moving us in that direction.” 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. Additionally, it is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

T.W. at WHN

https://www.worldhealth.net/news/best-overall-diets-2024-report/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2361966-mediterranean-diet-may-prevent-cognitive-issues-for-people-with-ms/

https://www.nationalmssociety.org/understanding-ms/what-is-ms

https://icahn.mssm.edu/

https://www.aan.com/msa/Public/Events/Index/45

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Multiple-Sclerosis-Hope-Through-Research

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