Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Second Department


First Advisor

Cay Anderson-Hanley




Macronutrient, Cognitive Function, Older Adults, MCI, Nutrition, Cognition


The population of older adults is growing at a remarkable rate in the United States and globally. Cognitive dysfunction increases with age (Tervo et al., 2004), thus the overall population of individuals suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s Disease, and other cognitive disorders is increasing as a result of this growth. In an attempt to identify possible causal or preventive factors to this decline, this study explored links between naturalistically observed nutrient consumption and cognitive function in a convenience sample of older adults. Analytic methods differed across various nutrients as exploration of each nutrient attempted to replicate previous findings in the referenced literature. Results revealed a correlation between greater sugar intake and incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI; r=.45, p=.003), and slower motor function in both dominant (r=.31, p=.046) and non-dominant hands (r=.43, p=.004). Results also revealed that low caloric intake yielded higher incidence of MCI (t=2.09, p=.04). Knowledge of nutritional links may aid in future understanding of and possible subsequent prevention of cognitive dysfunction, such as MCI, in our growing population of older adults.