Background There is evidence of a link between nutrient intake and cognitive impairment and decline in old age. There has been no study of nutrient intake in Irish subjects at risk of dementia.
Aim To investigate the possible link between nutrient intake and cognitive performance in a group of Irish adults at risk of dementia, and to compare the nutrient intake in these adults stratified by the absence or presence of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele.
Method Forty-four subjects, who were first-degree blood relatives of people with Alzheimer’s disease, were recruited. Cognitive performance and nutritional intake were assessed and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype determined.
Results The intakes of cholesterol (P < 0.037) and Na (P < 0.037) were significantly higher in subjects with altered cognitive performance. There was no significant difference in nutrient intakes between APOE ε-4 allele positive and APOE ε-4 allele negative subjects.
Conclusion The findings of this work suggest that dietary cholesterol and sodium intake may be linked to cognitive impairment.