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Prospective association between adherence to the MIND diet and subjective memory complaints in the French NutriNet-Santé cohort



Our objective was to examine whether adherence to the Mediterranean–DASH diet intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) was associated with SMC (as measured by the cognitive difficulties scale; CDS) in the NutriNet-Santé cohort.


The study sample consisted of 6011 participants aged ≥ 60 years at baseline, without SMC at the beginning. SMC were defined by a CDS score ≥ 43 (corresponding to the 4th CDS quartile) and SMC cases were participants with SMC at least once during follow-up. The MIND diet score (0–15 points) is a hybrid of the Mediterranean Diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) scores, which includes ten brain healthy food groups and five unhealthy food groups. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate Hazard Ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


Over a mean follow-up of 6 years, approximately 15% and 30% cases of SMC were identified among participants aged 60–69 and ≥ 70 years, respectively. The MIND diet score was not significantly associated with SMC in the full sample and among participants aged 60–69 years. Among participants aged ≥ 70 years, a significant inverse association was observed between adherence to the MIND diet and SMC (HRtertile 3 vs tertile 1 = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.47–0.99). This relationship was strengthened after exclusion of participants with depressive symptoms (HRtertile 2 vs tertile 1 = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.49–0.97; HRtertile 3 vs tertile 1 = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.41–0.93).


These findings suggest that the MIND diet could help to prevent or delay SMC among older adults without depressive symptoms.

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Fig. 1



Body mass index (kg/m2)


Cognitive difficulties scale


Confidence interval


Consumption unit


Hazard ratios


International physical activity questionnaire


Mediterranean–DASH diet Intervention for neurodegenerative delay


Modified French Programme National Nutrition Santé-Guideline Score


Standard deviation


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We thank all the scientists, dietitians, technicians, and assistants for their technical contribution to the NutriNet-Santé study. We especially thank Younes Esseddik, Thi Duong Van, Frédéric Coffinieres, Mac Rakotondrazafy, Régis Gatibelza, and Paul Flanzy (computer scientists); and Nathalie Arnault, Véronique Gourlet, Dr. Fabien Szabo, Julien Allegre, Anouar Nechba, and Laurent Bourhis (data-manager/biostatisticians). We also thank all the volunteers of the NutriNet-Santé cohort. The NutriNet-Santé Study is supported by the French Ministry of Health (DGS), the French Public Health Agency, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the Medical Research Foundation (FRM), the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the National Conservatory for Arts and Crafts (CNAM), the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES), and the Paris 13 University. MA was supported by a doctoral fellowship from the Ecole Doctorale Galilée, Paris 13 University, Sorbonne Paris Cité.

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Correspondence to Moufidath Adjibade.

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Adjibade, M., Assmann, K.E., Julia, C. et al. Prospective association between adherence to the MIND diet and subjective memory complaints in the French NutriNet-Santé cohort. J Neurol 266, 942–952 (2019).

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  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Subjective memory complaints
  • Nutrition
  • MIND diet