Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 176, Issue 3, pp 193–198 | Cite as

The relationship between nutrient intake and cognitive performance in people at risk of dementia

  • R. Salerno-KennedyEmail author
  • K. D. Cashman
Original Article



There is evidence of a link between nutrient intake and cognitive impairment and decline in old age. There has been no study of nutrient intake in Irish subjects at risk of dementia.


To investigate the possible link between nutrient intake and cognitive performance in a group of Irish adults at risk of dementia, and to compare the nutrient intake in these adults stratified by the absence or presence of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele.


Forty-four subjects, who were first-degree blood relatives of people with Alzheimer’s disease, were recruited. Cognitive performance and nutritional intake were assessed and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype determined.


The intakes of cholesterol (P < 0.037) and Na (P < 0.037) were significantly higher in subjects with altered cognitive performance. There was no significant difference in nutrient intakes between APOE ε-4 allele positive and APOE ε-4 allele negative subjects.


The findings of this work suggest that dietary cholesterol and sodium intake may be linked to cognitive impairment.


APOE genotype Cognitive function Disorders Irish population MMSE Nutrients Nutrition-related 



We would like to thank Prof. John O’Halloran, UCC, for his help with the statistical analysis. This work was supported by funding made available under the National Development Plan 2000–2006 with assistance from the European Regional Development Fund.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food and Nutritional SciencesUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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