Hospital del Mar Research Institute Hospital del Mar Research Institute

Epidemiology and public health


Nutritional intervention studies


  • Risk of cardiovascular diseases

Multicentre, randomized, parallel study coordinated by Dr. Estruch, (Hospital Clínic, Barcelona). The study randomized 7,447 individuals at high cardiovascular risk into three intervention groups: two Mediterranean diet groups, one diet enriched with virgin olive oil and the other with nuts, and a control group prescribed a low-fat diet. The effect of each diet on primary and secondary markers of cardiovascular diseases was evaluated. The PREDIMED Study has demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular events (Estruch et al. NEJM, 2018).

Principal contribution: Catañer O, JACC 2020; Estruch R, NEJM 2018; De la Torre R, Am J Clin Nutr 2017.

  • Risk of neurodegenerative diseases

In recent years, the group has been developing cellular models to evaluate the properties of HDL, as well as carrying out transcriptomic analysis aimed at preventing cardiovascular and neurodegenerative risk. Dr. Castañer uses the results to explore possible risk factors for dementia related to cardiovascular risk. These form the basis of her research in which she studies pathways related to cardiovascular and metabolic risk and their association with dementia. We have recently reported how the Mediterranean diet down-regulates transcriptomic pathways related to neuroinflammation, which could influence the development of neurodegenerative diseases (Almanza E, Nutr Neurosci 2020).

PREDIMED-plus study

Multicentre study coordinated by Dr. Salas-Salvadó (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus) aimed at establishing the usefulness of an energy-restricted Mediterranean diet, associated with behavioural support and lifestyle changes, in the primary prevention of cardiovascular events and neurodegenerative diseases in patients with metabolic syndrome (

Principal contribution: Cárdenas-Fonts G, Eur J Nutr 2018; Schröder H, Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2018; Salas-Salvadó, J Diabetis Care 2018; Martínez-González MA, Int J Epidemiol 2018.

Interventions with olive oils and functional olive oils (enriched with biologically active compounds)

We have conducted several randomised and crossover intervention studies among which we highlight:

  • VOHF study:

A project in which the effect of 3 types of virgin olive oil was studied in 33 volunteers with dyslipidemia. One was enriched with phenolic compounds typical of the oil itself, another was enriched with thyme compounds, and the third was a control virgin olive oil. The bioactivity of phenolic compounds and derivatives, as well as other dietary substances, is another of our scientific objectives.

Principal contribution: Farràs M J Nutr Biochem 2018; Hernáez A J Nutr 2015; Hernáez A ATVB 2014; Martin-Peláez S Nutrients 2016; Martin-Peláez S, Eur J Nutr 2015; Farràs M, MNFR 2015; Castañer O Clin Nutr 2011; Covas MI Annals of Int Med 2006; Covas MI Free Radical Biol Med 2006.

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