Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Nutrition and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Multiple Sclerosis Research Center, Neuroscience Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Multiple Sclerosis Research Center, Neuroscience Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Cardiovascular Diseases Research Center, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran Department of Cardiology, Heshmat Hospital, School of Medicine, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran Department of Cellular and Molecular Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Cellular and Molecular Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Sports Medicine Research Center, Neuroscience Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Headache Department, Iranian Center of Neurological Research, Neuroscience Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Background: Among multiple sclerosis (MS) related symptoms and complications, fatigue might impact roughly 90% of patients. Decline in cognitive function is one of the other complications that occur in the first years after disease onset. The Mediterranean diet is one of the well-known
anti-inflammatory dietary approaches. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the effects of a modified Mediterranean-like diet on cognitive changes and fatigue levels in comparison with a conventional standard diet over a 1-year follow-up.
Methods: In the current single-blind randomized controlled trial, 34 MS patients in the Mediterranean- like diet group and 38 patients in the standard 
healthy diet group were studied for 1 year. The dietary interventions were modified each month by an expert nutritionist. MS-associated fatigue level was evaluated using the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS). Cognitive assessment was also performed using Minimal Assessment of Cognitive Function in MS (MACFIMS).
Results: Intergroup ‎comparisons demonstrated that after considering confounding variables in ANCOVA, fatigue scores appeared significantly lower in patients who were treated with the Mediterranean-like diet than those in the standard healthy diet group [Mean 95% confidence interval (CI)}: 33.93 (32.97-34.89) and 37.98 (36.99-38.97), respectively; P < 0.001]. However, the intergroup ‎analysis of cognitive status only showed a difference in the mean score of Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R) subtest of the MACFIMS. The BVMT-R‎ was higher among standard healthy diet patients compared to the Mediterranean-like diet group after the intervention following adjustment for covariates [Mean (95% CI): 23.73 (21.88-25.57) and 20.56 (18.60-22.51), respectively; P = 0.020].
Conclusion: In conclusion, the results of this study highlighted the higher protective effects of the Mediterranean-like diet against MS-related fatigue than the standard healthy diet. However, no significant improvement was observed in the cognitive status of MS patients after a 1-year treatment with the Mediterranean-like diet. More randomized clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to elucidate the effects of dietary modifications on MS-associated symptoms and complications.

Keywords

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