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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333226

Research Project: Nutrition, Brain, and Aging

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: The beneficial effects of berry fruit on cognitive and neuronal function in aging

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 Scott, Tammy - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/19/2016
Publication Date: 9/23/2016
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B., Miller, M.G., Thangthaeng, N., Fisher, D.R., Bielinski, D.F., Kelly, M.E., Scott, T. 2016. The beneficial effects of berry fruit on cognitive and neuronal function in aging. In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference. Functional and Medical Foods for Chronic Diseases:Bioactive Compounds and Biomarkers, September 22-23, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts. p. 289-290.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Research has demonstrated, in both human and animals, that cognition 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.