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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Importance of Boron for Brain and Psychological Function

Author
item Penland, James

Submitted to: Health Effects of Boron and Its Compounds International Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 22, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Boron (B) nutriture has been related to bone, mineral and lipid metabolism, energy utilization, and immune function. As evidence accumulates that B is essential for humans, it is useful to consider the possible importance of B for brain and psychological function. Reviewed are 5 studies conducted in our laboratory. An initial study with mature rats found that adding 2.5 ug/g boric acid to a low B diet (0.12 ug/g) increased brain electrical activity. This study was followed by 3 human studies that assessed the effects of dietary B on the electroencephalogram (EEG) and on cognitive (attention, perception, memory & reasoning) and psychomotor (motor speed, dexterity and eye-hand coordination) function. Two studies found that, compared to higher boron intakes (> 3 mg/d), low B intakes (< 0.3 mg/d) resulted in EEG changes consistent with deceased brain activation and similar to those observed in non-specific malnutrition and lead toxicity. Low B intakes were also associated with poorer performance on tasks of motor speed and dexterity, attention and short-term memory; the latter two tasks showed better performance with higher B intakes in all three studies. Possible biological mechanisms by which changes in B intake and status might cause the observed effects in brain and psychological function are discussed. Findings support the hypothesis that B nutriture is important for brain and psychological function in humans.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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