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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317802

Title: The effects of nutrition on cognition and motor function in aging

item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/22/2015
Publication Date: 8/20/2015
Citation: (Program Booklet) Nutraceuticals in Neurodegeneration and Aging, Satellite meeting to the 25th ISN-13th APSN Biennial Meeting, 2015 (no page numbers exist)Shukitt Hale, B. 2015. The effects of nutrition on cognition and motor function in aging. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Average lifespans have increased dramatically over the last century and by the year 2050 fully 30% of the total population will be over 65 years of age. There is a high probability that these people will be exhibiting the most common behavioral changes that occur in “normal” aging - impaired mobility and cognitive performance. The cause of these functional declines is not entirely understood; however, neuronal losses and the associated changes in the activity of neurotransmitters, secondary messengers, and their receptors may be caused by long term increases in and susceptibility to oxidative stress and inflammation. Therefore, foods high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, such as berries and nuts could prevent and even reverse the occurrence of the neurochemical and behavioral changes that occur in aging. Previously, we have shown that fruits, vegetables, and nuts high in polyphenolics are able to reverse several parameters of brain aging as well as age-related motor and cognitive deficits when fed to rats from 19-21 months of age. These effects may be the result of direct effects on brain signaling or indirect effects through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the polyphenols in these foods. If these effects translate to older adults, dietary interventions, such as the inclusion of additional servings of fruits, vegetables, or nuts, present a potential means of delaying or minimizing the negative effects of aging on the brain.