. Midlife fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of dementia in later life in Swedish twins. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010 May;18(5):413-20. PubMed.

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  1. This prospective cohort study of Swedish twins supports the possibility that mid-life consumption of vegetables and fruits might reduce the risk of symptomatic Alzheimer disease.

    While randomized clinical trials are needed to evaluate these and other suggested but unproven pre-symptomatic AD treatments, it would take too many people, too much money and too many years to evaluate treatments like fruits, vegetables, blood-pressure-lowering, cholesterol-lowering or hormonal treatments starting in middle-aged people using clinical endpoints. We look forward to the time when brain imaging and other biomarker measurements can be used to evaluate these promising pre-symptomatic treatments more quickly, and when there is more evidence to suggest that a pre-symptomatic treatment's effects on one or more of these biomarkers is reasonably likely to predict a clinical benefit.

    Meanwhile, one might recommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables, along with other "healthy lifestyle interventions" that have been suggested but not yet proven to reduce symptomatic AD risk for the same reason one might recommend chicken soup to treat a cold: they might not help, but in most cases they probably wouldn't hurt.