The Mediterranean Diet and Cognitive Function among Healthy Older Adults in a 6-Month Randomised Controlled Trial: The MedLey Study Academic Article uri icon


  • Evidence from a limited number of randomised controlled intervention trials (RCTs) have shown that a Mediterranean dietary pattern may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and enhance cognitive function among healthy older adults. However, there are currently no data in non-Mediterranean older adult populations. The present study aimed to address this gap by examining the effect of a Mediterranean dietary pattern (MedDiet) for six months on aspects of cognitive function in a randomised controlled intervention trial (the MedLey study) that extended for a duration of 18 months. In the final analysed cohort, a total of 137 men and women (mean age of 72.1 ± 5.0 years) randomly assigned to either a MedDiet or control diet (HabDiet) (i.e., habitual dietary intake), were assessed on a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery, including 11 individual tests. In multivariable-adjusted models, the MedDiet group did not perform significantly better than the HabDiet control group for executive functioning (adjusted mean differences: +2.53, 95% CI -2.59 to 7.65, p = 0.33); speed of processing (adjusted mean differences: +3.24, 95% CI -1.21 to 7.70, p = 0.15); memory (adjusted mean differences: +2.00, 95% CI -3.88 to 7.88, p = 0.50); visual-spatial ability (adjusted mean differences: +0.21, 95% CI -0.38 to 0.81, 0.48); and overall age-related cognitive performance (adjusted mean differences: +7.99, 95% CI -4.00 to 19.9, p = 0.19). In conclusion, this study did not find evidence of a beneficial effect of a MedDiet intervention on cognitive function among healthy older adults.


  • Knight, A
  • Bryan, J
  • Wilson, C
  • Hodgson, JM
  • Davis, CR
  • Murphy, KJ

publication date

  • 2016