Metering Mood with Veggies: Association of skin carotenoid levels and depressive symptoms or mood disturbances
University of Kansas
Dietetics & Nutrition
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Background: Mood disturbances and depressive symptoms are a common occurrence among those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They are associated with poor quality of life for the person with AD, as well as increased caregiver burden which can result in earlier institutionalization. In the search for more effective therapeutic interventions, nutritional interventions are being explored to target specific pathways in the body thought to be associated with mood disturbancesand depression. Objective: The purpose of this thesis project was to determine if there is an association between skin carotenoid status and depressive symptoms or mood disturbances in cognitively normal older adults. Design: Baseline data were collected from 109 cognitively normal men and women ages 65 years and older from the Nutrition Interventions for Cognitive Enhancement (NICE) cohort study. Skin carotenoid status was measured by the Veggie Meter®. Mood disturbances and depressive symptoms were measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale – Short Form and subscales and composite scores from the RAND 36-Item Health Survey. Results: Participants were predominantly white, non-Hispanic females (89%, 91.7%, 79.8%, respectively) and had a mean BMI of 28.3 ± 4.6 kg/m2. Participants had a mean Veggie Meter® score of 269.99 ± 84.25. Significant correlations were found between Veggie Meter® score and the physical functioning, social functioning, and general health RAND subscales (p<0.05), but not mood or depressive symptoms. Conclusions: The data suggest no association between skin carotenoid status and mood disturbances or depressive symptoms. Further research with less exclusion criteria, multiple data collection points, and more specific tools for mood disturbances and depressive symptoms is needed.
- Theses 
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