Background: Studies indicate that diet may be related to the occurrence of brain lesions. The cross-sectional association between food intake and brain lesion volumes in late-life depression was examined in a cohort of elderly individuals with current or prior depression.
Methods: Food intake was assessed in 54 elderly vascular depression subjects (vascular depression defined by presence of hyperintensities on brain MRI) using a Block 1998 food frequency questionnaire. Food and kilocalorie intake were determined. Brain lesion volumes were calculated from MRI. Subjects were aged 60 or over and were participants in a longitudinal study of major depression. All subjects received psychiatric assessment and treatment, and medical comorbidity assessments.
Results: High-fat dairy and whole grains were significantly positively correlated with brain lesion volume, while other food groups were not significantly associated with lesion volume. In multivariable analyses, controlling for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes and total kilocalories, the positive association with lesion volume remained significant for both high-fat dairy and whole grains.
Conclusions: High fat dairy and whole grain consumption may be associated with brain lesions in elderly subjects with depression.