Berna El Rahi

Assistant Professor of Nutrition

Dr. Berna El Rahi is an assistant professor of nutrition at the Lebanese American University. She received her Doctoral degree in geriatric nutrition with an emphasis on epidemiology from University of Montreal and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in nutritional epidemiology at the National Health Institute of Medical Research (INSERM), University of Bordeaux. She then completed a second fellowship in nutritional geriatric psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angles. At UCLA, Dr. Rahi was also affiliated to the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she was a research coordinator and a health educator on several studies.

At LAU, Dr. Rahi teaches undergraduate and graduate classes. She teaches the community nutrition and the advanced human nutrition at the undergraduate level, while she is responsible for teaching NUT602: Research methodology in nutrition and food sciences, NUT 652: Advanced micronutrient metabolism and NUT 623: Advanced Therapeutic Nutrition and the graduate level.

Beside her academic work, Dr. Rahi likes to collect post-its, build Lego sets, reading, hiking, traveling, and playing online games. 

Research Interests

Dr. Rahi’s main research interest focuses on the role of nutrition in successful aging and in particular the role of diet quality in physical, cognitive and mental aging. Dr. Rahi’s research is also concentrated on preventing and managing chronic diseases among older adults and particularly, Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Rahi also assesses the nutritional determinants of frailty and sarcopenia.

Selected Publications

  1. Rahi B, Raji C, Meysame S, Merrill D. “Nutrition and Cognitive Decline”. Handbook of Cognitive Aging: A Life Course Perspective, Cambridge University Press, 2020. Editors: Gutchess A & Thomas A.
  2. McEwen SC§, Siddarth P§Rahi B, Kim Y, Mui W, Wu P, Emerson ND, Lee J, Greenberg S, Shelton T, Kaiser S, Small G, Merrill DA. “Simultaneous aerobic exercise and memory training program in older adults with subjective memory complaints”. “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease”. 2018;62(2):795-806. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170846
  3. Laird KT, Paholpak P, Roman M, Rahi B, Lavretsky H. “Mind-Body Therapies for Late-Life Mental Cognitive Health”. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2018 Jan 25;20(1):2. doi: 10.1007/s11920-018-0864-4
  4. Siddarth P§Rahi B§, Emerson ND, Burggren AC, Miller KJ, Bookheimer S, Lavretsky H, Dobkin B, Small G, Merrill DA. “Physical Activity and hippocampal sub-region structure in older adults with memory complaints”. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;61(3):1089-1096. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170586.
  5. Rahi B*, Ajana S, Tabue-Teguo M, Dartigues JF, Peres K, Feart C. “Higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet and lower risk of frailty among French elderly community-dwellers: results from the Three-City-Bordeaux study”. Clin Nutr. 2018 Aug;37(4):1293-1298. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.05.020. Epub 2017 May 31.
  6. Rahi B*, Colombet Z, Gonzalez-Colaço Harmand M, Dartigues JF, Boirie Y, Letenneur L, Feart C. “Higher Protein But Not Energy Intake Is Associated with A Lower Prevalence Of Frailty Among Community Dwelling Older Adults In The French Three-City-Cohort”. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2016 Jul 1;17(7):672.e7-672.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2016.05.005.
  7. García-Esquinas E, Rahi B, Peres K, Colpo M, Dartigues JF, Bandinelli S, Feart C, Rodríguez-Artalejo F. “Consumption of fruits and vegetables and risk of frailty: a dose-response analysis of three prospective cohorts of community-dwelling older adults”. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jul;104(1):132-42. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.125781. Epub 2016 May 18.
  8. Rahi B, Morais JA, Gaudreau P, Payette H, Shatenstein B. “Energy and protein intakes and their association with a decline in functional capacity among diabetic older adults from the NuAge cohort”. Eur J Nutr. 2016 Jun;55(4):1729-39. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0991-1. Epub 2015 Jul 16.
  9. Rahi B, Morais JA, Gaudreau P, Payette H, Shatenstein B. “Functional decline is unaffected by diet quality alone or in combination with physical activity among generally healthy older adults with T2D from the NuAge cohort.” Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2014 Sep;105(3):399-407. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2014.07.008. Epub 2014 Jul 22.
  10. Rahi B, Morais JA, Dionne IJ, Gaudreau P, Payette H, Shatenstein B. “The combined effects of diet quality and physical activity on maintenance of muscle strength among diabetic older adults from the NuAge cohort.” Exp Gerontol. 2014 Jan;49:40-6. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2013.11.002. Epub 2013 Nov 20

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in clinical nutrition, University of Montreal, QC, Canada
  • MS in nutrition, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • BS in nutrition and dietetics, Notre Dame University, Lebanon