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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Assesses Association between Mediterranean Diet and Prediction of Incident Stroke

There are limited data on the potential association of adherence to Mediterranean diet (MeD) with incident stroke. Recently, Dr. Suzanne E. Judd, associate professor in the department of biostatistics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, sought to assess the longitudinal association between greater adherence to MeD and risk of incident stroke. UAB co-investigators include Dr. George Howard, professor in the department of biostatistics; Dr. Virginia J. Howard, professor in the department of epidemiology; and Dr. Virginia G. Wadley, associate professor in the division of gerontology, geriatrics, and palliative care.



[Photo: Dr. Suzanne E. Judd]

The researchers prospectively evaluated a population-based cohort of 30,239 individuals enrolled in REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, after excluding participants with stroke history, missing demographic data or food frequency questionnaires, and unavailable follow-up information. Adherence to MeD was categorized using MeD score. Incident stroke was adjudicated by expert panel review of medical records during a mean follow-up period of 6.5 years.

Results indicate that incident stroke was identified in 565 participants (2.8 percent; 497 and 68 cases of ischemic stroke [IS] and hemorrhagic stroke, respectively) of 20,197 individuals fulfilling the inclusion criteria. High adherence to MeD was associated with lower risk of incident IS in unadjusted analyses. The former association retained its significance after adjustment for demographics, vascular risk factors, blood pressure levels, and antihypertensive medications. When MeD was evaluated as a continuous variable, a one-point increase in MeD score was independently associated with a five percent reduction in the risk of incident IS. The team documented no association of adherence to MeD with incident hemorrhagic stroke; there was also no interaction of race on the association of adherence to MeD with incident IS.

Dr. Judd and her colleagues concluded that high adherence to MeD seems to be associated with a lower risk of incident IS independent of potential confounders. Adherence to MeD is not related to the risk of incident hemorrhagic stroke.

“Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Prediction of Incident Stroke” was published online in January 2015 in the journal Stroke.

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