Department of Nutrition Student Projects

Examining the Impact of Soluble vs. Insoluble Dietary Fiber on Long-Term Cognitive Benefits in Older Adults Living in Nursing Homes

Shreya Patel
Sofia Celis
Adrienne Newberry


The cognitive health of the elderly, specifically those residing in nursing homes, is a demanding concern in geriatrics. As individuals age, they become susceptible to cognitive decline, impacting their quality of life and overall well-being. Among individuals residing within nursing homes, cognitive disability is prevalent, with conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s posing challenges to the individual and the caregivers. Dietary factors are a potential contributor to cognitive health. Dietary fiber, existing in soluble and insoluble forms, has been linked to health benefits, such as cardiovascular health. Preliminary findings from other studies suggest a positive correlation between fiber intake and cognitive functions. However, there remains a gap in the literature regarding the type of fiber. This longitudinal study aims to investigate how different kinds of dietary fiber, whether soluble or insoluble, impact the cognitive abilities of older adults. Individuals eligible for this study must be 65 years old, reside within a participating nursing home, have no medical or family history of neurological disorders, have a baseline cognitive function test (Digital Substitution Test (DSST), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Boston Naming Test) within the normal range, have no history of substance abuse, and have a stable dietary pattern. After IRB approval is received, participants will receive an intervention in the form of different types of dietary fiber. Data will be collected from 5 participating nursing home sites. The outcomes aim to contribute valuable insight into dietary factors in geriatric care and highlight the need for future research on optimizing cognitive health.