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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329191

Research Project: Nutrition, Brain, and Aging

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Berry fruit can improve age-associated neuronal and cognitive deficits: from the laboratory to the clinic

Author
item Shukitt-hale, Barbara
item Miller, Marshall
item Thangthaeng, Nopporn
item Fisher, Derek
item Bielinski, Donna - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Kelly, Megan
item Tammy, Scott - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: American Aging Association
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/4/2016
Publication Date: 6/1/2016
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B., Miller, M.G., Thangthaeng, N., Fisher, D.R., Bielinski, D., Kelly, M.E., Tammy, S. 2016. Berry fruit can improve age-associated neuronal and cognitive deficits: from the laboratory to the clinic. American Aging Association. 72:61.

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, initially with animals but more recently with humans, has shown that consumption of berry fruits, i.e., strawberries and blueberries which are high in polyphenolics, can prevent and even reverse age-related cognitive and neuronal 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. Additionally, the polyphenolics in different berry fruits may have differential effects on cognition and inflammation/oxidative stress. Therefore, dietary interventions with polyphenolic-rich foods may be one strategy to forestall or even reverse age-related neuronal deficits.