Previous research in Alzheimer's disease (AD) has focused on individual dietary components. There is converging evidence that composite dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) is related to lower risk for cardiovascular disease, several forms of cancer, and overall mortality. We sought to investigate the association between MeDi and risk for AD.


A total of 2,258 community-based nondemented individuals in New York were prospectively evaluated every 1.5 years. Adherence to the MeDi (zero- to nine-point scale with higher scores indicating higher adherence) was the main predictor in models that were adjusted for cohort, age, sex, ethnicity, education, apolipoprotein E genotype, caloric intake, smoking, medical comorbidity index, and body mass index.


There were 262 incident AD cases during the course of 4 (±3.0; range, 0.2–13.9) years of follow-up. Higher adherence to the MeDi was associated with lower risk for AD (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.83–0.98; p = 0.015). Compared with subjects in the lowest MeDi tertile, subjects in the middle MeDi tertile had a hazard ratio of 0.85 (95% confidence interval, 0.63–1.16) and those at the highest tertile had a hazard ratio of 0.60 (95% confidence interval, 0.42–0.87) for AD (p for trend = 0.007).


We conclude that higher adherence to the MeDi is associated with a reduction in risk for AD. Ann Neurol 2006