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A diet considered high in quality according to a healthy eating index preserves cognition in patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease and mental decline, results of a new study suggest.

The research extends findings of previous studies, as it included a large cohort of middle-aged and elderly subjects from 40 countries, said lead author Andrew Smyth, MMedSc, research fellow, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

"The take-home message from this study is that high diet quality, which is consistent with current healthy eating guidelines, is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline and suggests that healthy eating may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in addition to the previously reported associations with cardiovascular disease," Dr Smyth told Medscape Medical News.