The Mediterranean diet is associated with better cardiovasular health for women in mid-life but not men: A PREVENT dementia cohort cross-sectional analysis

Sarah Gregory, Georgios Ntailianis, Oliver Shannon, Emma Stevenson, Craig Ritchie, Katie Wells, Graciela Muniz-Terrera

Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular diseases (2023)



A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses, olive oil and oily fish. People who eat this diet have been shown to have better cardiovascular health such as lower blood pressure and lower body mass index (BMI). The aim of this study was to (1) understand if the Mediterranean diet was associated with better cardiovascular health in the PREVENT dementia cohort and (2) to see if this differed between men and women. Three different scores were created which represent how close an individual’s diet represented a Mediterranean diet. Associations between these diet scores and measures of cardiovascular health, which included: blood pressure, BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting glucose were then tested. The study found that higher Mediterranean diet scores were associated with lower blood pressure, lower BMI and lower cardiovascular risk scores and found these results were particularly consistent for women. This suggests the importance of considering sex and gender in the development of nutritional recommendations to improve cardiovascular health.

Insulin resistance, age and depression’s impact on cognition in middle-aged adults from the PREVENT cohort

Bauermeister, S.D., Yehuda M.B.Reid, G., Gregory, S., Howgego, G., Ritchie, K., Watermeyer, T., Muniz-Terrera, G., Koychev, I.

British Medical Journal (2023)



This study sought to look at the relationship between pre-diabetes (that is resistance of the body tissue to insulin), depressive symptoms and performance on memory tests in 40-59 year olds. Blood samples were analysed to check how responsive the body tissues were to insulin. Scores on a depression symptoms scale was used to assess levels of depression. Results from two computerised tests were used to determine memory and thinking skills. The results found those with evidence of insulin resistance reported higher depression symptoms. Higher insulin resistance in older middle-aged adults may be particularly detrimental to some aspects of memory and thinking as performance was impaired in those aged 50-60 years. The findings show that there are interrelationships between depression, resistance to insulin and cognitive impairment. 

Differential association of cerebral blood flow and anisocytosis in APOE ε4 carriers at midlife

Maria-Eleni Dounavi , Elijah Mak, Peter Swann, Audrey Low, Graciela Muniz-Terrera, Anna McKeever,
Marianna Pope, Guy B Williams, Katie Wells, Brian Lawlor, Lorina Naci, Paresh Malhotra, Clare Mackay, Ivan Koychev, Karen Ritchie, Li Su, Craig W Ritchie and John T O’Brien.

Journal of Cerebral Blood flow & Metabolism (2023)



Timely delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain via the bloodstream is crucial for the maintenance of brain health. Using a brain imaging technique called arterial spin labelling (ASL) we can measure the delivery of blood to the brain tissue to quantify cerebral blood flow (CBF). In the present study we examined differences in blood flow between people who carry at least one copy of the apolipoprotein ε4 (APOE4) gene (potential higher risk for future Alzheimer’s disease) and those who do not carry any copy of APOE4. We also examined the relationship between different sizes and shapes of red blood cells and cerebral blood flow.

APOE4 carriers demonstrated an unexpected pattern of higher cerebral blood flow in their brain. We have also found that the relationship between CBF and size and shape of red blood cells is different between APOE4 carriers and non-carriers, especially in areas that are far from the arteries supplying blood to the brain.

Fear of dementia and public sharing of research results.

Graham M. Farina F, Ritchie C, Lawlor B, Naci L.

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 31: 4, 498–505 (2022)



A general obligation to make aggregate research results available to participants has been widely supported in the bioethics literature. However, dementia research presents several challenges to this perspective, particularly because of the fear associated with developing dementia. The authors argue that considerations of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice fail to justify an obligation to make aggregate research results available to participants in dementia research. Nevertheless, there are positive reasons in favor of making aggregate research results available; when the decision is made to do so, it is critical that a clear strategy for communicating results is developed, including what support will be provided to participants receiving aggregate research results.

Modifiable lifestyle activities affect cognition in cognitively healthy middle-aged individuals at risk for late-life Alzheimer’s Disease

Amy Heneghan, Feng Deng, Katie Wells, Karen Ritchie, Graciela Muniz-Terrera , Craig W Ritchie, Brian Lawlor, Lorina Naci.

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2022).

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-220267


Mid-life lifestyle factors, including occupation, as well as engagement in physical, social and intellectual activities were evaluated. The impact of risk and protective lifestyle factors was measured in three aspects of cognition, verbal and visual memory, visual short-term memory and visuospatial function. Lifestyle activities significantly impacted cognition in mid-life. More frequent engagement in physically, socially and intellectually stimulating activities was associated with better verbal and visual memory, both at baseline and at follow-up. Critically, a significant association was also found between family history of dementia with lifestyle and visuospatial function, at follow-up. Impaired visuospatial function is one of the earliest cognitive deficits in AD. These findings suggest that modifiable lifestyle activities may offset AD risk-related cognitive decrements in mid-life, and support the targeting of stimulating lifestyle activities for the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.