IHMRI dietitian granted share in the scheme

The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute’s Professor Karen Charlton has been awarded $600,000 by Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC).

Professor Charlton received the World Class Research Grant for her project ‘Food for thought: Preventing decline and improving cognition through diet and dietary advice in older people at risk ‘, a landmark clinical trial assessing whether practical dietary recommendations can prevent dementia in high-risk individuals.

“There is growing evidence that some plant foods are beneficial for brain health, particularly those that are deep-red and purple-blue in colour due to the presence of anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid)”, said Prof Charlton.

“We want to research whether dietary anthocyanins, provided either by a commercially available Australian fruit, the Queen Garnet Plum, or through commonly available foods (“the purple diet”) for 6 months can delay cognitive decline in persons diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).”

The purple diet includes anthocyanin-rich foods such as berries, cherries, plumbs, cabbage, red onions and eggplant.

Professor Charlton explained that studying people with diagnosed with MCI is essential, as approximately half of participants will develop Alzheimer’s Disease within four years of their diagnosis.

“This research study will enable us to better understand the role of diet in preventing further cognitive decline in people at high risk of dementia using foods that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties in order to develop practical and achievable dietary advice for better brain health.”

It comes four years after the project received an IHMRI Collaborative Grant in 2017.  

Media contact

Lizzie Jack, Media and Content Coordinator

t: 4221 5432

e: ejack@uow.edu.au

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