Dietary fat intake and the risk of incident dementia in the Rotterdam study

Authors

  • Dr. Sandra Kalmijn MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam
    2. Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences, Rotterdam
    3. Department of Chronic Diseases and Environmental Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
    • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lenore J. Launer PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam
    2. Department of Chronic Diseases and Environmental Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alewijn Ott MD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jacqueline C. M. Witteman PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Albert Hofman MD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Monique M. B. Breteler MD

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

A high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol and a low intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids have been related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease has been associated with dementia. We investigated the association between fat intake and incident dementia among participants, age 55 years or older, from the population-based prospective Rotterdam Study. Food intake of 5,386 nondemented participants was assessed at baseline with a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. At baseline and after an average of 2.1 years of follow-up, we screened for dementia with a three-step protocol that included a clinical examination. The risk of dementia at follow-up (RR [95% CI]) was assessed with logistic regression. After adjustment for age, sex, education, and energy intake, high intakes of the following nutrients were associated with an increased risk of dementia: total fat (RR = 2.4 [1.1–5.2]), saturated fat (RR = 1.9 [0.9–4.0]), and cholesterol (RR = 1.7 [0.9–3.2]). Dementia with a vascular component was most strongly related to total fat and saturated fat. Fish consumption, an important source of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, was inversely related to incident dementia (RR = 0.4 [0.2–0.9]), and in particular to Alzheimer's disease (RR = 0.3 [0.1–0.9]). This study suggests that a high saturated fat and cholesterol intake increases the risk of dementia, whereas fish consumption may decrease this risk.

Ancillary