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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Nutrition and Communication in the Aged Brain: Can You Hear Us Now?

Authors
item Joseph, James
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara
item Smith, Mark - CASE WESTERN RESRV UNIV

Submitted to: Acarology International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 24, 2004
Publication Date: June 24, 2004
Citation: Joseph, J.A., Shukitt Hale, B., Smith, M. 2004. Nutrition and communication in the aged brain: can you hear us now? Acarology International Congress Proceedings.

Technical Abstract: The aged brain may provide "fertile ground" for the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer Disease (AD) and Certain forms of Parkinson's disease (PD). Although a great deal of the literature with regard to brain-behavior relationships and nutrition has found that malnutrition in prenatal or early postnatal development that results in a reduced intake of micronutrients can have profound effects on the brain, even adequate intakes of micronutrients cannot prevent the deleterious effects of aging on the brain. The questions that arise are: What stokes the "fires" of aging and how do we quench them? In this review we describe the sources of very reactive molecules called free radicals which promote oxidative stress and their associated inflammatory agents which act together to affect the nervous system in aging and age-related diseases such as AD. In order to offset the deleterious effects of these insults, many people take antioxidant supplements that include Vitamins E and C, Ginkgo Biloba, and a host of others with different degrees of success. Recent evidence indicates however that the plethora of compounds found in fruit and vegetables may act in concert to reduce oxidative and inflammatory stressors that alter neuronal function, and in addition, may directly increase neuronal communication and the growth of new neurons. Research has indicated that berryfruit supplementation may actually prevent the development of cognitive deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer Disease. Taken together, these findings suggest that fruits and vegetable may play substantial roles in the promotion of "successful brain aging".

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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