Submitted to: Clinical Nutrition Insight
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2007
Publication Date: 1/12/2008
Citation: Joseph, J.A., Shukitt Hale, B. 2008. "Brainberries" and Aging. Clinical Nutrition Insight.34:1-4.
Technical Abstract: The onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases superimposed on a declining nervous system could exacerbate the motor and cognitive behavioral deficits that normally occur in senescence. This means that unless some way is found to reduce these age-related declines in neuronal function, health care costs will continue to rise exponentially. Therefore, it is important to determine what methods can be used right now to ensure healthy aging, forestall the onset of these diseases, and create conditions favorable to obtaining a “longevity dividend” in both financial and human terms. Epidemiologic studies indicate that diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, may lower the risk of developing age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease (AD) or Parkinson disease (PD). If we can establish ways to reduce the normal declines in cognitive function that accompany aging, we may be able to further reduce the burden of these diseases on society. Research suggests that the polyphenolic compounds found in fruits such as blueberries may exert their beneficial effects by altering stress signaling and neuronal communication. This suggestion implies that dietary interventions involving these fruits or their extracts may be protective against age-related deficits in cognitive and motor function.