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The Role of Nutrition in Dementia Prevention

A two-day conference brings together scientists and physicians at the cutting edge of a body of evidence linking nutrition and healthy brain function.

Published March 20, 2015

NEW YORK, March 20, 2015 - Every four seconds, someone is diagnosed with dementia. As societies around the world struggle to treat those with this devastating condition, there is a new sense of urgency centered on prevention-particularly given current projections that 135 million people will be affected with dementia by 2050 if no significant advances are made. What can we do to protect future generations of seniors from this alarming fate? On March 26 - 27th, researchers will come together at The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences and sponsored by the Nestlé Nutrition Institute, and Nestlé Health Science, will focus on three aspects of nutrition for aging populations:

  • Nutritional consequences of the aging demographic: epidemiological perspectives,
  • The role of nutrition in dementia prevention, and
  • The role of nutrition and distinct nutritional requirements in the management of dementia.

"It is essential that the scientific and public health sectors expand their focus to include not just interventions for those with dementia, but also evidence-based prevention strategies for large-scale populations," says Amy Beaudreault, PhD, Associate Director, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science. "This is a high stakes window of opportunity; we are excited to bring together researchers who are advancing a body of evidence that points to the role of nutrition in maintaining healthy brain function."

Keynote speaker Professor Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland, whose Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) was published March 12 in The Lancet, will be presenting her new findings at the conference.

"Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. However, the FINGER study is the first large randomized controlled trial to show that an intensive program aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia," says Kivipelto.

"Dementia is a multi-factor pathological condition, and nutrition is one factor that may play a role on its onset and progression. Studies in this area show that inadequate dietary habits, which are of particular concern in elderly populations, may increase the risk of developing a number of age-related diseases, including disorders of impaired cognitive function," says Natalia Wagemans, MD, PhD, Head of the Nestlé Nutrition Institute. "We are proud to be a partner in organizing this event and sharing scientific information with medical and scientific communities."

"This event captures the shared quest to advance the scientific understanding of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and the impact and therapeutic potential of nutrition for these challenging conditions," says Dr. Phil Nichols, Global Head of Medical Affairs for Brain Health at Nestlé Health Science. "Evidence has already demonstrated that diminished cerebral glucose metabolism is a key underlying pathology in the Alzheimer's brain - this is one of the areas where nutritional solutions may have a vital role."

For more information on the conference, as well as a list of speakers and presentation topics, please visit the conference webpage.

For media inquiries, including requests for press passes, please contact Diana Friedman (; 212-298-8645).


About Nestlé Nutrition Institute

The Nestlé Nutrition Institute (NNI) shares leading science based information and education with health professionals, scientists and nutrition communities and stakeholders, in an interactive way. The NNI offers a large set of resources including Medline indexed publication series, academic fellowships, nutrition courses,  continuous medical learning via E-Learning, practical tools, scientific workshops and satellite symposia. These resources are accessible via our interactive website ( All our resources, including an archive of more than 3000 publications and 700 online conferences, are available to the medical community at no charge. By sharing science based information and education, the Institute fosters "Science for Better Nutrition" to contribute to the enhancement of the quality of people's lives all over the world.

About Nestlé Health Science

Nestlé Health Science, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé, is a health-science company engaged in advancing the role of nutritional therapy to change the course of health for consumers, patients and our partners in healthcare. Its portfolio of nutrition solutions, diagnostics, devices and drugs, targets a number of health areas, such as inborn errors of metabolism, pediatric and acute care, obesity care, healthy ageing, and gastrointestinal and brain health. Through investing in innovation and leveraging leading edge science, we bring forward innovative nutritional therapies with proven clinical, health economic value and quality of life benefits. Nestlé Health Science employs around 3,000 people worldwide and is headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. For more information, please visit

About The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences is dedicated to advancing nutrition science research and knowledge, mobilizing communities, and translating this work into the field. The Institute is generating a coordinated network across sectors, disciplines, and geographies that promotes open communication; encourages exchange of information and resources; nurtures the next generation of scientists; and affects community intervention design and public policy changes. Visit for more information.

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at