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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #272717

Title: The behavioral and neuronal signaling benefits of polyphenols

item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2011
Publication Date: 10/17/2011
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B. 2011. The behavioral and neuronal signaling benefits of polyphenols. 5th International Conference on Polyphenols and Health [abstract}. Abstract No. 068.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Motor and cognitive behavioral deficits occur in senescence, and in cases of severe deficits, hospitalization and/or custodial care would be a likely outcome. It is important to explore methods to retard or reverse age-related neuronal deficits, as well as their subsequent, behavioral manifestations, in order to increase healthy aging. Fruits and vegetables high in polyphenolics, such as berry fruits, can prevent and even reverse the occurrence of the neurochemical and behavioral changes that occur in aging when fed to aged rats. These polyphenols act by neutralizing free-radicals to prevent cellular damage from occurring and by counteracting cells’ inflammatory responses. Additionally, these compounds have direct effects on the brain – increasing the number of new brain cells in regions crucial for learning and memory and improving the structure of neurons to allow for more efficient signaling and communication. Therefore, dietary interventions, such the inclusion of additional servings of berry fruits to the “Western diet,” present a potential means of delaying or minimizing the negative effects of aging on the brain.