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Dietary fat types and 4-year cognitive change in community-dwelling older women

Authors

  • Olivia I. Okereke MD, SM,

    Corresponding author
    1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    • Channing Laboratory 3rd floor, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
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  • Bernard A. Rosner PhD,

    1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
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  • Dae H. Kim MD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Division of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Jae H. Kang ScD,

    1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Nancy R. Cook ScD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • JoAnn E. Manson MD, DrPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Julie E. Buring ScD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Walter C. Willett MD, DrPH,

    1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
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  • Francine Grodstein ScD

    1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    3. Division of Aging, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 72, Issue 4, 627, Article first published online: 29 October 2012

Abstract

Objective:

A study was undertaken to relate dietary fat types to cognitive change in healthy community-based elders.

Methods:

Among 6,183 older participants in the Women's Health Study, we related intake of major fatty acids (saturated [SFA], monounsaturated [MUFA], total polyunsaturated [PUFA], trans-unsaturated) to late-life cognitive trajectory. Serial cognitive testing, conducted over 4 years, began 5 years after dietary assessment. Primary outcomes were global cognition (averaging tests of general cognition, verbal memory, and semantic fluency) and verbal memory (averaging tests of recall). We used analyses of response profiles and logistic regression to estimate multivariate-adjusted differences in cognitive trajectory and risk of worst cognitive change (worst 10%) by fat intake.

Results:

Higher SFA intake was associated with worse global cognitive (p for linear trend = 0.008) and verbal memory (p for linear trend = 0.01) trajectories. There was a higher risk of worst cognitive change, comparing highest versus lowest SFA quintiles; the multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was 1.64 (1.04–2.58) for global cognition and 1.65 (1.04–2.61) for verbal memory. By contrast, higher MUFA intake was related to better global cognitive (p for linear trend < 0.001) and verbal memory (p for linear trend = 0.009) trajectories, and lower OR (95% CI) of worst cognitive change in global cognition (0.52 [0.31–0.88]) and verbal memory (0.56 [0.34–0.94]). Total fat, PUFA, and trans-fat intakes were not associated with cognitive trajectory.

Interpretation:

Higher SFA intake was associated with worse global cognitive and verbal memory trajectories, whereas higher MUFA intake was related to better trajectories. Thus, different consumption levels of the major specific fat types, rather than total fat intake itself, appeared to influence cognitive aging. ANN NEUROL 2012;

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