Cortical and Subcortical Brain Volumes Partially Mediate the Association between Dietary Composition and Behavioral Disinhibition

Dr. Daan van Rooij
About the Author

Dr. Daan van Rooij is a neuroscientist working at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Nijmegen (the Netherlands). He specializes in neuroimaging and genetics research and is currently investigating the effects of nutrition on the brain in kids with ADHD.


Behavioral disinhibition is observed to be an important characteristic of many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Recent studies have linked dietary quality to levels of behavioral inhibition. However, it is currently unclear whether brain factors might mediate this. The current study investigates whether cortical and subcortical brain volumes mediate part of the association between dietary composition and behavioral disinhibition. A total of 15,258 subjects from the UK Biobank project were included in the current study. Dietary composition and behavioral disinhibition were based on Principle Component Analyses of self-reported dietary composition). As a further data reduction step, cortical and subcortical volume segmentations were input into an Independent Component Analysis. The resulting four components were used as mediator variables in the main mediation analyses, where behavioral disinhibition served as the outcome variable and dietary components as predictors. Our results show: (1) significant associations between all dietary components and brain volume components; (2) brain volumes are associated with behavioral disinhibition; (3) the mediation models show that part of the variance in behavioral disinhibition explained by dietary components (for healthy diet, restricted diet, and high-fat dairy diet) is mediated through the frontal-temporal/parietal brain volume component. These results are in part confirming our hypotheses and offer a first insight into the underlying mechanisms linking dietary composition, frontal-parietal brain volume, and behavioral disinhibition in the general adult population.

Public information


Cortical and Subcortical Brain Volumes Partially Mediate the Association between Dietary Composition and Behavioral Disinhibition: A UK Biobank Study


van Rooij, D.; Schweren, L.; Shi, H.; Hartman, C.A.; Buitelaar, J.K.