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Western research into dementia has focused on finding effective means of prevention, particularly through nutrition. To date, however, little is known about the relationship between diet and cognitive disorders in Africa, where the number of people with dementia is expected to increase most over the coming decades. The objective of the study was to investigate the relationship between diet and alcohol intake and cognitive disorders among elderly people in Central Africa. Between 2011 and 2012, a cross-sectional multicentre population-based study was carried out in rural and urban areas of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Republic of Congo (ROC). Participants aged ≥65 years were interviewed using the Community Screening Interview for Dementia (CSI-D). Elderly people who performed poorly (COGSCORE≤24.5/30) were clinically assessed by neurologists and underwent further psychometric testing. DSM-IV and Petersen criteria were required for a diagnosis of dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), respectively. A food frequency questionnaire assessed the intakes of dairy products, fruit, vegetables, starches, legumes, oleaginous foods, meat or fish, eggs and sweet foods over the previous three days. We also collected data on alcohol intake. Sociodemographic, vascular, and psychological factors were documented. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate the associations. In fully adjusted models, a lower consumption of oleaginous foods was associated with MCI (OR=3.7 [1.4-9.9]) and dementia (OR=2.8 [1.0-7.7]) in a rural area of CAR. Alcohol consumption was associated with reduced probability of dementia in CAR (OR=0.3 [0.1-0.8]). In ROC, food groups and alcohol intake were not associated with MCI or dementia. In conclusion, our study provides new data about the association between diet and cognitive disorders in Africa. Further studies should investigate the relationship between diet and cognitive disorders at the level of specific foods rather than food groups.

Original publication




Journal article


The journal of nutrition, health & aging

Publication Date





657 - 667


Pr Jean-Claude Desport, Unité de nutrition, CHU Dupuytren, 2 Avenue Martin Luther King, 87042 Limoges Cedex, France, Phone: + 33 5 55 05 66 21, E-mail:


Humans, Dementia, Diet, Geriatric Assessment, Logistic Models, Cross-Sectional Studies, Feeding Behavior, Alcohol Drinking, Cognition, Psychometrics, Dairy Products, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Aged, Rural Health, Urban Health, Central African Republic, Congo, Female, Male, Cognitive Dysfunction