(HealthDay News) – Adherence to a Mediterranean diet has no effect on the time of onset to Huntington’s disease in individuals at high risk, although individual components such as high caloric intake are associated with increased risk, according to a study published online Sept. 2 in JAMA Neurology.

Karen Marder, MD, MPH, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined whether adherence to a Mediterranean diet (via a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire) was associated with time to phenoconversion in 211 individuals at risk of Huntington’s disease with an expanded CAG repeat length (≥37).

The researchers found that 31 individuals phenoconverted. After adjusting for various factors, phenoconversion was associated with age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.14) and CAG repeat length (HR, 1.46), but not with adherence to a Mediterranean diet. However, phenoconversion was associated with high dairy intake (HR, 2.36), high body mass index (HR, 1.41), and high caloric intake (HR, 1.7).

“Mediterranean diet was not associated with phenoconversion; however, higher consumption of dairy products had a two-fold increased risk and may be a surrogate for lower urate levels (associated with faster progression in manifest Huntington’s disease),” Marder and colleagues conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial or advisory relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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