Associations of dietary patterns and longitudinal brain-volume change in Japanese community-dwelling adults: results from the national institute for longevity sciences-longitudinal study of aging

Shu Zhang, Giovanni Sala, Akinori Nakamura, Takashi Kato, Kanae Furuya, Hiroshi Shimokata, Xiang Gao, Yukiko Nishita, Rei Otsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The association of dietary patterns and longitudinal changes in brain volume has rarely been investigated in Japanese individuals. We prospectively investigated this association in middle-aged and older Japanese community-dwelling adults. Methods: Data with a 2-year follow-up from the sixth wave (July 2008 to July 2010; baseline) to the seventh (July 2010 to July 2012; follow-up) of the National Institute for Longevity Sciences-Longitudinal Study of Aging project were analyzed. Dietary intake was assessed using a 3-day dietary record, and longitudinal volume changes (%) in the total gray matter (TGM), total white matter, and frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal, and insular lobes were assessed using 3-dimensional T1 magnetic resonance imaging scans. Multiple factor analysis and hierarchical clustering revealed sex-specific dietary patterns. Associations between dietary patterns and annual brain-volume changes (%) were evaluated using general linear models adjusted for age, apoprotein E genotype, body mass index, medical history, lifestyle behaviors, socioeconomic factors, and energy intake. Results: Among the 1636 participants (age: 40.3–89.2 years), three dietary patterns were determined for men (n = 815; Western; Vegetable-Fruit-Dairy; and Traditional Japanese diets) and women (n = 821; Western; Grain-Vegetable-Fruit; and Traditional Japanese diets). Compared to women following the Western diet, those on the Traditional Japanese diet had less TGM atrophy. Multivariable-adjusted β (95% confidence interval) of the annual change (%) of TGM was − 0.145 (-0.287 to -0.002; P = 0.047), which correlated with reduced parietal lobe atrophy. No association between dietary pattern and brain atrophy was observed in men. Conclusions: Adherence to healthy dietary patterns, with higher consumption of whole grains, seafood, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, soybean products, and green tea, potentially confers a protective effect against brain atrophy in middle-aged and older Japanese women but not in men. Further research to confirm these results and ascertain the underlying mechanisms is required. This study highlights the importance of sex-specific effects on the relationship between dietary patterns and brain health in diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number34
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this