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Title: Effects of dietary blueberry supplementation on older adults

item MILLER, MARSHALL - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item JOSEPH, JAMES - Former ARS Employee
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara

Submitted to: Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/25/2014
Publication Date: 11/15/2014
Citation: Miller, M.G., Joseph, J.A., Shukitt Hale, B. 2014. Effects of dietary blueberry supplementation on older adults. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings. 2014 Program #144.19.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Aging involves decremental changes in cognition, even in the absense of neurodegenerative pathology. A growing body of pre-clinical research shows that dietary supplementation with berry fruit can improve cognition and mobility in aged rodents, in part due to reduction in inflammation. This study sought to determine whether dietary blueberry could reverse age-related cognitive decline, and if these declines were associated with inflammation status as measured in serum. Therefore, 38 healthy men and women between the ages of 60 and 75 years were recruited into a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial where they consumed freeze-dried blueberry powder or a blueberry placebo powder for 90 days. Blood was drawn and a battery of tests was administered at baseline and again on days 45 and 90 of the intervention. Participants in the blueberry group showed significantly fewer repetition errors in the California Verbal Learning test (p < 0.05) and displayed a reduced switch cost on a task switching test (p < 0.05), relative to controls. Change in high sensitivity C-reactive protein levels in fasting serum correlated with change in repetition errors (r = -0.493) and change in interleukin 6 in fasting serum correlated with change in task switching errors (r = 0.596) among participants in the placebo group; however, these correlations were absent among participants consuming blueberry. These findings provide evidence that supplementing older adults’ diets with blueberry can improve inflammation-sensitive aspects of cognition, even during otherwise healthy aging.