Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Thomas Petros


Past research on the relationship between nutrition and cognitive performance has suggested that dietary diversity decreased the risk of cognitive decline among Japanese older adults, that a lower ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3s is linked to a better MoCa score, and that Vitamin E was positively associated with higher scores on a variety of cognitive tests. The main purpose of this study was to compare younger adults (18-35) and older adults (65+) on measures of nutritional intake and examine how nutritional impact influences performance on a neuropsychological battery. Participants were recruited from North Dakota. There were two sets of participants separated into groups based on age: one group was 58 people 18 to 31 years of age, recruited from UND. The other group was 21 people 60 to 85 years of age. Participants completed a 72-hour dietary record and both the WAIS Vocabulary Subtest and RBANS battery. Dietary diversity was positively related to cognitive performance on the RBANS Full Scale SS, the IMI, and DMI. an increase in Omega-3 FAs was associated with a decrease in RBANS Full Scale SS and Story Recall, while an increase in the Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio was associated with a decrease in the DMI. Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene were associated with better scores on the Attention Index and List Learning respectively, while more Vitamin C was associated with decreased performance on LL. Future research should use people from diverse backgrounds, a longitudinal design to account for lifestyle factors, and control the food consumed.