Date of Award

Summer 8-6-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Huanbiao Mo

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Mabb


By the year 2050, the number of individuals over the age of 65 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is expected to increase to 13.8 million. Since it was first discovered over 100 years ago, scientist have proposed many mechanisms for what causes AD. These hypotheses include amyloid, tau, oxidative stress, cholinergic, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, altered calcium homeostasis, impaired glucose metabolism in the brain, pathogenic virus, and prion disease. Although countless research has been conducted on these hypotheses, scientist still do not have a definitive explanation for the cause. In this paper we discuss these various hypotheses and look at what the research shows on how diet may impact the pathogenesis of AD. A common theme in the research surrounding diet and AD is the importance of antioxidants in the diet. Found primarily in plant-based sources like walnuts, berries, and dark leafy greens, antioxidants were shown to help the body fight the pathogenesis of AD through scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS), decreasing the formation of amyloid plaques, and helping with mitochondria health. Diets such as the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean-DASH intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) are high in plant-based foods and antioxidants and have the potential to reduce the risk of developing AD. Moving forward, research needs to be conducted on diet prior to the development of AD in order to get a better understanding of what diets may prevent or delay the onset of AD.


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