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Relationships between dietary nutrients intake and lipid levels with functional MRI dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation

Authors Lau H, Shahar S, Mohamad M, Rajab NF, Yahya HM, Che Din N, Abdul Hamid H

Received 10 August 2018

Accepted for publication 29 November 2018

Published 24 December 2018 Volume 2019:14 Pages 43—51

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S183425

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Huijin Lau,1 Suzana Shahar,1 Mazlyfarina Mohamad,2 Nor Fadilah Rajab,3 Hanis Mastura Yahya,1 Normah Che Din,4 Hamzaini Abdul Hamid5

1Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2Diagnostic Imaging and Radiotherapy Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 3Biomedical Science Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 4Health Psychology Program, School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 5Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Background: Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is a key node in the cognitive control network that supports working memory. DLPFC dysfunction is related to cognitive impairment. It has been suggested that dietary components and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) play a vital role in brain health and cognitive function.
Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the relationships between dietary nutrient intake and lipid levels with functional MRI (fMRI) brain activation in DLPFC among older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Participants and methods:
A total of 15 community-dwelling older adults with mild cognitive impairment, aged ≥60 years, participated in this cross-sectional study at selected senior citizen clubs in Klang Valley, Malaysia. The 7-day recall Diet History Questionnaire was used to assess participants’ dietary nutrient intake. Fasting blood samples were also collected for lipid profile assessment. All participants performed N-back (0- and 1-back) working memory tasks during fMRI scanning. DLPFC (Brodmann’s areas 9 and 46, and inferior, middle, and superior frontal gyrus) was identified as a region of interest for analysis.
Results: Positive associations were observed between dietary intake of energy, protein, cholesterol, vitamins B6 and B12, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and HDL-C with DLPFC activation (P<0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that vitamin B6 intake, β=0.505, t (14)=3.29, P=0.023, and Digit Symbol score, β=0.413, t (14)=2.89, P=0.045; R2=0.748, were positively related to DLPFC activation.
Conclusion: Increased vitamin B6 intake and cognitive processing speed were related to greater activation in the DLPFC region, which was responsible for working memory, executive function, attention, planning, and decision making. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the association.

Keywords: brain activation, fMRI, HDL-C, vitamin B6

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