Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Reference:

2018MFP-COFUND-23

Area:

Health Sciences

Supervisor name and surname:

Jordi Salas-Salvadó

Supervisor email:

jordi.salas@urv.cat

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Nancy Babio Sánchez

Co-supervisor email:

nancy.babio@urv.cat

Co-supervisor institution:

Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Nutrition and Metabolism

Title of the research project:

Mediterranean Diet and Dementia and Cognition

Description of the research project:

Nowadays, the increase in life expectancy parallels the age-related cognitive decline and subsequent neurodegenerative disease prevalence, including dementia. Dementia is a devastating illness leading to total dependence and eventually, to death. Several conditions may cause dementia, yet the most relevant ones include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as vascular cognitive impairment. The World Health Organization (WHO) is expecting that in 2030 neurologic disabilities will constitute the 5 out of the 10 major causes with larger economic implications. The underlying process leading to any cognitive impairment, such as dementia, is larger than initially thought. Early changes at brain level occur before any initial symptoms of memory-loss may be evident. It is known that cardiovascular risk factors, metabolic syndrome (MS), hypothyroidism and B12 deficiencies may be associated with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular cognitive impairment. It is vital to further identify modifiable risk factors, and to understand the underpinning processes by which reducing the incidence or delay the progress of this disease.
Last decades Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) seems a promising preventing strategy for various conditions, i.e. cardiovascular, respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and diabetes; as well as for improving quality of life. Evidence relating dietary habits with cognitive health is increasing. MedDiet has been hypothesized as a protective factor for cognitive decline and dementia –in which the vascular component is particularly relevant–, possibly due to the ability of MedDiet to reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Primary prevention studies aiming at identifying modifiable risk factors for dementia are scarce, which are the best health strategy to avoid this condition. Hence, our aims are: a) evaluating the association between specific nutrients, MedDiet and risk of dementia in the PREDIMED study; b) ascertaining the association of MS and its components, and other cardiometabolic conditions with cognitive decline among participants in the PREDIMED studies; and c) design and disseminate preventive strategies for those individuals with higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The PREDIMED study is a randomized, multicenter, parallel-group controlled clinical trial for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with 10y follow-up (http://www.predimed.es/). The PREDIMED-Plus trial is a randomized, multicenter, controlled clinical trial with 10y follow-p, evaluating the effectiveness of weight loss using a hypocaloric MedDiet, physical activity promotion and behavioral support on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (http://www.predimedplus.com/). No treatment has been developed to effectively treat dementia.
Our results will contribute to increase epidemiological evidence in this topic, together with the design and implementation of public health strategies.

Gross anual salary:

26443.80 €

Dedication:

Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713679