Specific Nutritional Biomarker Profiles in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Subjective Cognitive Decline Are Associated With Clinical Progression: The NUDAD Project

Francisca A. de Leeuw, Wiesje M. van der Flier, Betty M. Tijms, Philip Scheltens, Vera M. Mendes, Bruno Manadas, J. rgen Bierau, Nick van Wijk, Ellen G. H. M. van den Heuvel, M. Hasan Mohajeri, Charlotte E. Teunissen, Maartje I. Kester

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Nutritional insufficiencies have been associated with cognitive impairment. Understanding whether nutritional biomarker levels are associated with clinical progression could help to design dietary intervention trials. This longitudinal study examined a panel of nutritional biomarkers in relation to clinical progression in patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Design, setting and participants: We included 299 patients without dementia (n = 149 SCD; age 61 ± 10 years, female 44%, n = 150 MCI; age 66 ± 8 years, female 38%). Median (interquartile range) follow-up was 3 (2-5) years. Methods: We measured 28 nutritional biomarkers in blood and 5 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), associated with 3 Alzheimer's disease pathologic processes: vascular change (lipids), synaptic dysfunction (homocysteine-related metabolites), and oxidative stress (minerals and vitamins). Nutritional biomarker associations with clinical progression to MCI/dementia and cognitive decline based on the Mini-Mental State Examination score were evaluated using Cox proportional hazard models and linear mixed models. We used partial least squares Cox models (PLS-Cox) to examine nutritional biomarker profiles associated with clinical progression. Results: In the total group, high high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were associated with clinical progression and cognitive decline. In SCD, high folate and low bilirubin levels were associated with cognitive decline. In MCI, low CSF S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and high theobromine were associated with clinical progression to dementia and high HDL, cholesterol, iron, and 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D were associated with cognitive decline. PLS-Cox showed 1 profile for SCD, characterized by high betaine and folate and low zinc associated with clinical progression. In MCI, a profile with high theobromine and HDL and low triglycerides and a second profile with high plasma SAM and low cholesterol were associated with risk of dementia. Conclusion and Implications: High HDL was most consistently associated with clinical progression. Moreover, different nutritional biomarker profiles for SCD and MCI showed promising associations with clinical progression. Future dietary (intervention) studies could use nutritional biomarker profiles to select patients, taking into account the disease stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1513.e1-1513.e17
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number10
Early online date27 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Nutrients
  • clinical progression
  • cognitive decline
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • nutritional biomarker
  • nutritional biomarker profiles
  • subjective cognitive decline

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