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Mediterranean diet of fish, olive oil and alcohol 'helps fight Alzheimers'

Age-related dementia can be held at bay by a Mediterranean-style diet featuring fish, olive oil and a dash of alcohol, according to research.

Scientists at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York have found that more fruit, veg and cereals and less meat and dairy products really are good for the brain.

While it is already widely accepted that such a diet leads to a healthy heart, it now also appears to lower the risk of developing serious forms of dementia.

Reporting their findings in the journal Archives of Neurology, the scientists conclude: "Among behavioural traits, diet may play an important role in the cause and prevention of Alzheimer's disease."

They found that a regular Mediterranean diet halved the risk of developing Alzheimer's, while middle-range consumers were 45% less likely to develop the disease than people with low consumption scores.

The trial included 1,393 unimpaired individuals and 482 with mild dementia. Over 4.5 years, 275 of the volunteers who originally had no symptoms of mental decline went on to develop them.

Compared with those in the bottom bracket, high scorers were 28% less likely to suffer mild dementia, while middle-range scorers had a 17% reduced risk.

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