Role of vegetarian and plant-based diet in the prevention of mild cognitive impairment and dementia
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University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A31
Background and Objective:
The increasing number of people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia represents a relevant public health problem. For this reason, there is interest in the assessment of factors affecting disease risk, in order to implement effective prevention strategies and promote a healthy lifestyle. In particular, diet as a determinant of cognitive impairment and dementia represents an important field of research, and many studies focused on the effects of plant-based, vegetarian or vegan diets on cognitive functions and dementia risk. The aim of this systematic review is to assess whether a plant-based or a ‘strict’ vegetarian diet is protective or detrimental towards cognitive functions.

The protocol of this systematic review and meta-analysis has been submitted to PROSPERO. The literature search has been conducted on 4 different databases: PubMed, Web of Science, Embase and Cochrane library. We used MeSH terms and keywords related to “plant-based diet”, “vegetarian diet”, “Mild Cognitive Impairment”, “dementia” and “memory impairment”. We found 2 additional articles through citation chasing techniques. We defined the following inclusion criteria according to the PICOS statement: adult population, adherence to plant-based, vegetarian or vegan diets, assessment of cognitive functions through dementia risk or cognitive decline at increasing adherence to different dietary patterns, and both observational studies (cohort, cross-sectional or case-control) and randomized clinical controlled trials. We will also perform a dose-response meta-analysis whenever possible.

In the preliminary literature search, we found a total of 1537 articles (including 2 studies added through citations), 255 of which were duplicates. After duplicate removal, the abstract and the full-text of 1282 articles were screened, leading to the exclusion of 1263 of them. Nineteen studies met our inclusion criteria and could be included in the systematic review.

The study is currently ongoing and its results will be presented at the Congress.

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