PROtein enriched MEDiterranean diet to combat undernutrition and promote healthy neuroCOGnitive ageing in older adults


The PROMED-COG project aims to (i) increase knowledge on the balance between the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and physical activity for prevention of undernutrition and promotion ofhealthy neurocognitive ageing, (ii) generate data on the mechanistic pathways by which the MedDietand exercise may actto influence nutritional status and cognition, and, (iii) produce evidence-based lifestyle guidelines for prevention of undernutrition and, specifically, the promotion ofhealthy neurocognitive ageing in older adults.


The project will use robust statistical methods to pool epidemiologic data from four Italian cohorts to enable us to; 1) identify determinants of undernutrition, 2) provide improved estimates of exposure to undernutrition and weight loss from mid to later life on cognitive decline and dementia, 3) provide improved estimates of exposure to MedDiet and physical activity on MRI-Brain biomarkers, cognitive decline and dementia, and, 4) explore influences of sex and genetic risk on associations. Findings will inform the design of a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effect of a protein enriched MedDiet and exercise intervention on nutritional status and cognitive performance inolder undernourished adults. Across studies, we will use state of the art metabolomics and biomarker assessment to uncover biological mechanisms underlying how MedDiet can influence nutrition status and neurocognitive ageing, and how physical activity interacts with nutrition to influence these processes.

Expected impact:

The PROMED-COG project will provide new and critical insight into the role of undernutrition in neurocognitive ageing, how these effects can differ by sex, genetic risk and timing of exposure,and how modifications of dietary and physical activity behaviour can act to reduce the burden of undernutrition and neurodegeneration. The resulting scientific knowledge will be translated into public and practice recommendations to prevent undernutrition for healthy neurocognitive ageing in older European citizens. This research will also be useful to public health bodies to inform policy and practice about the dietary guidelines of older people, and industry to inform the development of food-based solutions to prevent undernutritionand increase healthy life years.


Partner Organization Partner Country
National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Biomedical Technologies, Epidemiology Unit Italy
University of Padova.(UNIPD),Geriatric Unit-Department of Medicine Italy
University College Dublin(UCD), Institute of Food and Health Ireland
Wageningen University(WU), Division of Human Nutrition Netherlands
Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg(FAU),Institute for Biomedicine of Aging Germany



  • A data harmonisation protocol and codebook has been developed for four Italian Cohorts to investigate the links between undernutrition, diet and exercise exposure and cognitive outcomes 


Title: PROtein enriched MEDiterranean diet to combat undernutrition and promote healthy neuroCOGnitive ageing in older adults: The PROMED-COG consortium project
Author: O'Neill RF, Brennan L*, Prinelli F*, Sergi G*, Trevisan C, De Groot LCPGM*, Volkert D*, Maggi S, Noale M, Conti S, Adorni F, Woodside JV, McKinley MC, McGuinness B, Cardwell C, McEvoy CT*

Communication & Dissemination Activities

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communication
AcademicCaterina Trevisan, Federica Prinelli* (IT), Silvia Conti, Stefania Maggi, Giuseppe Sergi* (IT), Claire T McEvoy* (UK), Marianna Noale. PREVALENCE OF UNDERNUTRITION AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH COGNITIVE DECLINE AND INCIDENT DEMENTIA: RESULTS FROM THE PROMED-COG PROJECT. European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS), London, UK2022.Poster
AcademicLorraine Brennan* (IE), Metabolomics in Nutrition Research: current status and future opportunities. Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference, Orlando, USA. 2022Oral
Public, AcademicClare Jess, Claire McEvoy* (UK), PROMED-COG Newsletter, Not applicable, Belfast, Northern Ireland. 2022E-newsletter


Project number:
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Claire McEvoy
Responsible organisation:
Queen's University Belfast, UK