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Phosphatidylcholine intake lowers dementia risk, improves cognitive performance in men

31 Dec 2019

Higher dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine may reduce the risk of incident dementia and improve cognitive performance in men, according to a study in eastern Finland.

Of the mean total choline intake of 431±88 mg/d in men, 188±63 mg/d was phosphatidylcholine. Overall, 337 men were diagnosed with dementia during a follow-up of 21.9 years.

The multivariable-adjusted risk of incident dementia was 28-percent lower (95 percent confidence interval, 1–48 percent; p-trend=0.02 across quartiles) among those in the highest vs lowest phosphatidylcholine intake quartile.

However, both intakes of total choline and phosphatidylcholine correlated with better performance in cognitive tests assessing frontal and temporal lobe functioning. For instance, an association was observed between higher intakes and better performance in verbal fluency and memory functions.

The apolipoprotein E (APOE) phenotype showed little or no impact on these associations.

This study examined a population-based sample of 2,497 dementia-free men in 1984–1989. A subset of 482 men completed five different cognitive performance tests 4 years later. The investigators retrieved diagnoses of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from Finnish health registers and assessed dietary intakes using 4-d food records at baseline.

Analyses were carried out using Cox regression and ANCOVA and were also stratified by the APOE phenotype. These data were available for 1,259 men.

“Moderate egg intake has been associated with better cognitive performance in observational studies,” the investigators said. “This association may be due to the rich content of choline, especially phosphatidylcholine, in eggs because choline has been suggested to have a role in the prevention of cognitive decline.”

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