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Minerva Medica 2007 December;98(6):639-45


language: English

Relationship among nutritional status, pro/antioxidant balance and cognitive performance in a group of free-living healthy elderly

Rondanelli M. 1, Trotti R. 2, Opizzi A. 1, Solerte S. B. 3

1 Department of Applied Health Sciences Section of Human Nutrition and Dietetics Faculty of Medicine, University of Pavia Personal Health Care Centre of Pavia, Pavia, Italy 2 Neurological Institute “C. Mondino”Foundation University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy 3 Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Therapy University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy


Aim. Nutrition plays a role in health promotion and well-being, but there is still a lack of knowledge about nutrition-related risk factors in aging cognitive impairment. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the link between nutritional status, cognitive performance and pro/antioxidant balance in healthy elderly subjects residing in a small metropolitan community.
Methods. The subjects were 69 free-living urban healthy elderly people (41 females and 28 males aged 84±7 years, mean ± standard deviation SD, range 70-89). In this group of elderly subjects an analysis of the diet over the 3 days before the study entry was performed. The nutrients intake for individuals were compared with the Italian Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). We also collected residents’ background information, nutritional status (Mini Nutritional Assessment, MNA), and data on daily nursing routines in institutions, including nutritional care. Plasma malondialdehyde and erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity were evaluated in elderly people as compared to a group of healthy young people (control group) as indices of the oxidative balance.
Results. The mean vitamin and mineral intake for participants met the RDAs except for calcium and vitamin D. No difference was observed as regards plasma malondialdehyde between young and elderly subjects: 4.5 (3-6.2) mmol/L vs 4.45 (2.4-5.8) mmol/L respectively, median with range, whereas the latter exhibited higher erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity: 16.0 (9.3-48) U/g hemoglobin (Hb) vs 15 (10-35) U/g Hb, respectively, median with range (P<0.05). A significant negative correlation (P<0.05, r=0.24) between dietary intake of vitamin D and malondialdeyde and between dietary intake of vitamin D and poor performance on cognitive tests (P<0.01, r=0.35) was observed.
Conclusion. In line with previous findings, our results highlighted the potential impact of nutritional factors on cognitive performance in older adults.

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