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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: The Effects of Bb Supplementation on Cognitive and Gait Functions in Aged Humans

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Establish the effects dietary berry fruit extracts and/or fatty acids on behavioral and neuronal deficits in aging to assess the mechanisms involved and the most effective polyphenols/fatty acids in animal and human models.

2. Determine the effects of the berry and/or fatty acid dietary supplementation in altering putative decrements in gait, force, and balance in aged humans.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The purpose of this project is to translate our previous findings showing that blueberry BB supplementation in senescent rodents reversed both motor behavioral and cognitive deficits to humans by determining if BB given to aged humans would reduce gait abnormalities (stride length, stride width and balance) and cognitive (memory) deficits.


3.Progress Report:

Functional changes in the brain and motor neurons during aging can alter learning and memory, steady gait, and balance - in some cases leading to early cognitive decline, disability, or injurious falls among older adults. We are exploring the effects of dietary supplementation with blueberry on age-related alterations in balance, gait, and cognition in older men and women (60-75 years old). During this year, a blueberry powder supplement and a placebo powder supplement were formulated and packaged for distribution to study participants. A protocol for this study was established, based on the preliminary results of pilot research, and approved by the institutional review board. Recruitment for this study has begun and potential participants are being screened for admission to the study.


Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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