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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318821

Research Project: Nutrition, Brain, and Aging

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Polyphenols found in berry fruit improve age-associated changes in cognitive function and brain inflammation

Author
item Shukitt-hale, Barbara

Submitted to: Polyphenols Actualites
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2015
Publication Date: 10/27/2015
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B. 2015. Polyphenols found in berry fruit improve age-associated changes in cognitive function and brain inflammation. Polyphenols Actualites [abstract]. 7th International Conference on Polyphenols and Health (Program), p. 50.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Research has demonstrated, in both human and animals, that cognitive functioning decreases with age, to include deficits in processing speed, executive function, memory, and spatial learning. 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, one approach to improving neuronal functioning might be to alter the neuronal environment to reduce the impact of oxidative and inflammatory stressors. Research conducted in our laboratory has shown that consumption of fruits and vegetables high in polyphenolics can prevent and even reverse age-related cognitive deficits. The polyphenolic compounds found in these foods may exert their beneficial effects indirectly, through their ability to lower oxidative stress and inflammation, or directly, by altering neuronal structure and signaling involved in neuronal communication. Therefore, dietary interventions with polyphenolic-rich foods may be one strategy to forestall or even reverse age-related neuronal deficits.