Thematic Area 2: Cohorts

TA 2: Population-based studies of food intake and food patterns, and brain structure and function across the life-span

How does the diet influence the development of the brain across the life-span?

We investigate the association between dietary habits and the development and functioning of the brain in childhood and adolescents . For this purpose novel dietary assessment methods and cognitive functioning tests will be implemented in existing and newly planned cohort studies. The mechanism of the effect of diet on brain development-/functioning, will be studied by investigating inflammation, metabolic status, dietary biomarkers such as fatty acid profiles. To find out what mechanisms diet can have its effect on brain development and maintenance, TA 2 will explore this through focusing on possible, hypothesized mechanisms, e.g. inflammation, metabolic status. On the other hand the scientists will use nutritional biomarkers, e.g. fatty acid profiles, to more specifically explore possible causal mechanisms. The research area TA 2 is closely linked to the work in TA1, TA4 and TA5 and will provide the basis for the intervention studies planned in TA3.and dietary recommendations and guidelines that will be developed in TA6.

Implementation of dietary assessments within the Rhineland Study

With the assessments of food intake, developed by TA1, raised in the core protocol of the Rhineland Study. This added data-collection will support many of the other WPs, including research linking dietary intake to cognitive and brain outcomes, genetics, preferences and biomarker discovery (WP1.3; WP2.2; WP2.4; WP2.5; WP4.3; WP4.5; WP5.1; TA6). It will also provide the basis for future (longitudinal) analyses (2nd funding period, long term perspective afterwards) to explore 1) novel dietary biomarkers (recovery biomarkers, markers of nutritional status), 2) the mechanisms through which diet can influence brain health, and 3) which other factors interact with diet to determine nutritional status and its impact on brain health (e.g. gut microbiome, physical activity, genetics, body composition, etc). The Rhineland Study will enclose up to 30,000 people at the age from 30 years from Bonn and surroundings. All three years take place re-examinations. Dietary patterns in relation to cognition and brain imaging markers in the general adult population. In the Rhineland Study we perform the cross-sectional analyses of dietary intake (patterns) with cognitive outcome and brain imaging markers, as well as initial assessments of potential mechanisms through which diet may influence cognition and brain function, and interaction with other factors (e.g. physical activity, physical fitness, genetic background, gut microbiome) etcetera.

Relationship between dietary patterns in childhood and adolescence, and cognition in later childhood, adolescence and early adult life

We incorporate cognitive measures into the DONALD study to investigate whether dietary factors in different critical periods (i.e. early life (age 0-2 years), the period of the adiposity rebound and puberty) affect subsequent cognitive abilities later in life. Adult participants will undergo the same cognitive test battery as used in the Rhineland Study, for children and adolescence, cognitive assessment batteries will be designed along with projects in TA 5.

The role of visceral fatty tissue in the relation between dietary intake and brain function

The body composition, particularly the fat distribution, could be an important intermediate and modifier of the relation between dietary intake and body and brain health. We aim to explore this by obtaining MR measurements of visceral and abdominal fat distribution of participants in the Rhineland Study. These data will be compared to the dietary intake and the results of the brain structure analysis and the cognitive tests. The collection of the suitable MR measurements is covered with this working package.

Relationship between diet, fatty acids, and the risk of cognitive decline and dementia

There are indications to the fact that the supply of certain food fatty acids could lower the risk for dementia. In connection with genetic and other risk factors recommendations could be derived to the dementia prevention. To examine the connection between fatty acids and dementia risk, the scientists analyse data and tests of participants of the AgeCoDe study. In the AgeCoDe cohort the role of dietary biomarkers, in particular fatty acid profiles, will be explored in relation to cognitive decline and dementia. These analyses will be complemented by analyses based on other cohorts in the cluster that address which dietary and non-dietary factors influence fatty acid levels across the age span.

Diet and cognition in persons at increased risk for dementia (DELCODE)

We examine the connection between food patterns and biomarkers for Alzheimer as well as cognitive markers. For this we analyse the dietary intake of the participants of the study DELCODE which show no interferences of the brain. The DELCODE study is a prospective cohort study in persons at-risk for Alzheimer´s Dementia (AD), including 300 persons with subjective cognitive decline; 200 first degree relatives of patients with AD; 200 healthy controls). Dietary assessment will be performed in all participants in the DELCODE study without objective cognitive impairment at baseline. In the first funding period, the focus will be on the cross-sectional association of nutritional patterns with biomarkers of AD (CSF biomarkers, MRI incl. functional MRI, FDG –PET amyloid-PET) and cognitive markers. In the second funding period, sufficient follow up data will have been collected to allow for analyses of dietary intake patterns with cognitive decline and conversion to dementia. The participants are given a further checkup in intervals of one year. The examination of the participants will include detailed assessment of subjective and objective cognitive performance, assessment of risk factors for AD and lifestyle factors, extensive MR brain imaging and biomaterial collection (blood, cerebrospinal fluid, DNA). The main aim of DELCODE is improving prediction developing new biomarkers for AD.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Monique Breteler (coordination)
Population and Health Sciences
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)

Sigmund-Freud-Str. 27D-53127 BonnPh. +49 228 43302 929monique.breteler@dzne.de

 

 

Prof. Dr. Frank Jessen
Clinic Research
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)

Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
University Hospital Cologne

Kerpener Strasse 62
50937 Köln
Ph. +49 (0) 221 / 478-4010
frank.jessen(at)uk-koeln.de

Prof. Dr. Michael Wagner
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
University Hospital of Bonn

Sigmund-Freud-Straße 25
D-53105 Bonn
Michael.Wagner(at)ukb.uni-bonn.de
www.psychiatrie.uni-bonn.de

Dr. Christine Ludwig
Institute of Nutritional and Food Sciences
Nutritional Epidemiology
Faculty of Agriculture
University of Bonn

Endenicher Allee 11-13
D-53115 Bonn
Ph. +49 228 73 3765
Fax +49 228 73 60493
cludwig(at)uni-bonn.de

Deborah van Lent
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
c/o Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
University Hospital of Bonn

Sigmund-Freud-Straße 25
D-53105 Bonn
Debora.Melo-van-Lent(at)dzne.de

Johanna Rienks
Institute of Nutritional and Food Sciences
Nutritional Epidemiology
Faculty of Agriculture
University of Bonn

Endenicher Allee 11-13
D-53115 Bonn
Ph. +49 228 73 2020
Fax +49 228 73 60493
jrienks(at)uni-bonn.de