Interplay between polygenic propensity for ageing-related traits and the consumption of fruits and vegetables on future dementia diagnosis

Emma Ruby Francis, Dorina Cadar, Andrew Steptoe, Olesya Ajnakina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Understanding how polygenic scores for ageing-related traits interact with diet in determining a future dementia including Alzheimer’s diagnosis (AD) would increase our understanding of mechanisms underlying dementia onset. Methods: Using 6784 population representative adults aged ≥50 years from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, we employed accelerated failure time survival model to investigate interactions between polygenic scores for AD (AD-PGS), schizophrenia (SZ-PGS) and general cognition (GC-PGS) and the baseline daily fruit and vegetable intake in association with dementia diagnosis during a 10-year follow-up. The baseline sample was obtained from waves 3–4 (2006–2009); follow-up data came from wave 5 (2010–2011) to wave 8 (2016–2017). Results: Consuming < 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day was associated with 33–37% greater risk for dementia in the following 10 years depending on an individual polygenic propensity. One standard deviation (1-SD) increase in AD-PGS was associated with 24% higher risk of dementia and 47% higher risk for AD diagnosis. 1-SD increase in SZ-PGS was associated with an increased risk of AD diagnosis by 66%(95%CI = 1.05–2.64) in participants who consumed < 5 portions of fruit or vegetables. There was a significant additive interaction between GC-PGS and < 5 portions of the baseline daily intake of fruit and vegetables in association with AD diagnosis during the 10-year follow-up (RERI = 0.70, 95%CI = 0.09–4.82; AP = 0.36, 95%CI = 0.17–0.66). Conclusion: A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is an important factor influencing the subsequent risk of dementia in the 10 years follow-up, especially in the context of polygenetic predisposition to AD, schizophrenia, and general cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number75
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2022


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Diet
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Polygenic susceptibility


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