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Biogerontology

, Volume 7, Issue 5–6, pp 339–345 | Cite as

Zinc status, psychological and nutritional assessment in old people recruited in five European countries: Zincage study

  • Fiorella Marcellini
  • Cinzia Giuli
  • Roberta Papa
  • Cristina Gagliardi
  • George Dedoussis
  • George Herbein
  • Tamas Fulop
  • Daniela Monti
  • Lothar Rink
  • Jolanta Jajte
  • Eugenio Mocchegiani
Research Article

Abstract

The paper shows the results on the relationship between zinc status, psychological dimensions (cognitive functions, mood, perceived stress) and nutritional aspects in European healthy old subjects recruited for ZINCAGE Project (supported by the European Commission in the Sixth Framework Programme). The old healthy subjects were recruited in Italy, Greece, Germany, France, Poland taking into account the different dietary habits between Northern and Southern European Countries and the pivotal role played by zinc for psychological functions. Measures of the cognitive status, mood and perceived stress level were obtained at baseline, using the “Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE)”; the “Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS – 15 items)” and the “Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)”, respectively. Nutritional status was assessed using “Frequency Food Questionnaire”. The sample included 853 old subjects, classified in 4 groups of age: 60–69-years-old (n = 359); 70–74-years-old (n = 225); 75–79-years-old (n = 153); 80–84-years-old (n = 116). Subjects were studied on the basis of plasma zinc, in which zinc ≤11 μM means marginal zinc deficiency. The total samples showed that the 82% had no cognitive decline, whereas 76% presented a low GDS value indicating no depression. However, all psychological variables were related to plasma zinc values and nutritional assessment. In particular, a relationship between marginal zinc deficiency and impaired psychological dimensions occurred in Greece than in other European countries due to low intake and less variety of foods rich of zinc. This phenomenon was independent by the age, suggesting that a correct zinc intake from a wide range of foods may be useful to maintain a satisfactory plasma zinc levels as well as psychological status in elderly with subsequent achievement of healthy ageing.

Keywords

Ageing Zinc status Cognitive functions Mood disorders Perceived stress 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Supported by European Commission (ZINCAGE Project, contract No. FOOD-CT-2003-506850, Coordinator Dr. Eugenio Mocchegiani) and by INRCA.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiorella Marcellini
    • 1
  • Cinzia Giuli
    • 1
  • Roberta Papa
    • 1
  • Cristina Gagliardi
    • 1
  • George Dedoussis
    • 2
  • George Herbein
    • 3
  • Tamas Fulop
    • 4
  • Daniela Monti
    • 5
  • Lothar Rink
    • 6
  • Jolanta Jajte
    • 7
  • Eugenio Mocchegiani
    • 8
  1. 1.Social Gerontology UnitRes. Dept, INRCA (Italian National Research Centres on Ageing)AnconaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, Science and DieteticsHarokopio UniversityAthensGreece
  3. 3.Department of Virology, IFR 133, EA 3186Franche-Comte UniversityBesançonFrance
  4. 4.Centre de Recherche sur le Vieillissement, Service de Gériatrie, Départmente de MédecineUniversite de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  5. 5.Department of Experimental Pathology and OncologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  6. 6.Institute of ImmunologyUniversity Hospital, RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  7. 7.Department of Toxicology, Division and Food Quality AnalysisMedical University of LodzLodzPoland
  8. 8.Immunology Ctr. (Section Nutrition, Immunity and Ageing)Res. Dept, INRCA (Italian National Research Centres on Ageing)AnconaItaly

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