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Dietary Influences on Alzheimer's Biomarkers


This study will examine the effect of different types of meals on cognitive function and Alzheimer's biomarkers in healthy older adults with and without the APOE E4 genotype. 

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
55 Years N/A All Yes
September 2016
May 31, 2020

  • Discontinuation of omega-3 fatty acids, low-dose niacin, or other alternative or herbal remedies during the study period
  • If female, post-menopausal for at least 1 year or 1 year since a hysterectomy
  • Able to read and understand English

  • Diagnosis of dementia or use of dementia medications
  • Recent stroke or severe head injury
  • Advanced Parkinson's disease
  • Diabetes, use of diabetic medications or insulin, or fasting blood glucose level of 126 or higher
  • Liver disease or elevations in liver enzyme levels more than 1.5 times normal
  • Active renal disease, or stage IV or V chronic kidney disease
  • Lipid abnormalities requiring statin, bile acid resins, fibrate medications, or high-dose niacin
  • LDL cholesterol of 190 mg/dL or more, total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL or more, or triglycerides greater than 200 
  • Inability to undergo lumbar puncture due to intracranial tumor, lower spinal hardware, use of anticoagulants, or other reasons
  • Daily use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; must be able to discontinue use 2 days prior to lumbar puncture
  • Uncontrolled severe hypertension, unstable angina or heart disease, moderate pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, or other significant medical illness
  • Active cancer undergoing treatment with chemotherapy or radiation
  • Use of estrogen, testosterone, corticosteroid replacements, or sex steroids; must discontinue hormone replacement therapy for symptomatic menopause 4 weeks before the first meal
  • Psychiatric disorders, including untreated major depression, psychosis, or mania
  • Major digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease
  • History of surgical procedures that may affect absorption of meals, such as gastric bypass, gastric banding, or small intestine resection
  • Food allergies and intolerances to meal ingredients
  • Medical conditions requiring strict adherence to a particular diet
  • Alcohol use greater than 2 drinks per day for men, or 1 drink per day for women

A diet high in saturated fat and high glycemic index foods has been identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. However, there is evidence that such a diet acutely improves cognition in APOE E4 carriers, while worsening cognition in those without the APOE E4 genotype. This study will examine the effects of different types of meals on Alzheimer's biomarkers in participants with and without APOE E4, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

Participants will undergo two experiments, 3 to 5 weeks apart, in which they fast overnight and then eat a breakfast that is either high in saturated fat and high glycemic index foods or low in saturated fat and low glycemic index foods. Three hours later researchers will measure cognitive function, Alzheimer's biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid, and levels of lipids, glucose, and insulin to determine the diet's effect. 

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Washington Medical Center
Seattle Washington 98195 Recruiting

University of Washington

Name Role Affiliation
Angela J. Hanson, MD Principal Investigator University of Washington

Name Phone Email
Angela J. Hanson, MD 206-897-5393
Susan E. Strom, MPH 206-685-2028


APOE Genotype and Diet Influences on Alzheimer's Biomarkers