Psychology, Department of


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npj Aging | (2024) 10:27.


Open access.


The emerging field of Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience aims to uncover specific foods and nutrients that promote healthy brain aging. Central to this effort is the discovery of nutrient profiles that can be targeted in nutritional interventions designed to promote brain health with respect to multimodal neuroimaging measures of brain structure, function, and metabolism. The present study therefore conducted one of the largest and most comprehensive nutrient biomarker studies examining multimodal neuroimaging measures of brain health within a sample of 100 older adults. To assess brain health, a comprehensive battery of well-established cognitive and brain imaging measures was administered, along with 13 blood-based biomarkers of diet and nutrition. The findings of this study revealed distinct patterns of aging, categorized into two phenotypes of brain health based on hierarchical clustering. One phenotype demonstrated an accelerated rate of aging, while the other exhibited slower-than-expected aging. A t-test analysis of dietary biomarkers that distinguished these phenotypes revealed a nutrient profile with higher concentrations of specific fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Study participants with this nutrient profile demonstrated better cognitive scores and delayed brain aging, as determined by a t-test of the means. Notably, participant characteristics such as demographics, fitness levels, and anthropometrics did not account for the observed differences in brain aging. Therefore, the nutrient pattern identified by the present study motivates the design of neuroscience-guided dietary interventions to promote healthy brain aging.

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