Submitted to: Gerontological Society of America
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2011
Publication Date: November 18, 2011
Citation: Carey, A.N., Shukitt Hale, B. 2011. Dietary supplementation with coffee improves motor and cognitive performance in aged rats [abstract]. Gerontological Society of America. Program No. 955-17. Technical Abstract: Polyphenols found in fruits and nuts have anti-inflammatory properties that may provide protection against the decline of cognitive, motor and neuronal function in senescence. The presence of a number of bioactive compounds (e.g., polyphenols) implicates coffee as a potential nutritional therapeutic to curtail brain aging. Moderate (3–5 cups a day) coffee consumption in humans has been associated with a significant decrease in the risk of developing chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. Therefore, we hypothesized that coffee supplementation would attenuate specific cognitive deficits in aged animals. Aged rats (19 months) were given one of five coffee-supplemented diets (n =15/group) (0%, 0.165%, 0.275%, 0.55%, 0.825% of the diet) for 8 weeks before motor and cognitive behavior assessment. The graded doses were equivalent to 3, 5, 10, and 15 cups/day, respectively, for humans. The ages rats supplemented with 0.55% coffee diet, equivalent to 10 cups of coffee, performed better in psychomotor testing (rotarod) and in a working memory task (Morris water maze) compared to aged rats on control diet. This appeared to be the optimal dose in this study. The 0.165% coffee-supplemented groups (3 cups) showed some improvement in reference memory performance in the Morris water maze. In a subsequent study, the effects of caffeine alone did not account for the performance improvements. These studies suggest that coffee supplementation, in achievable amounts, may have some benefit in reducing both motor and cognitive deficits in aging. Objectives: After viewing this presentation, participants will be able to discuss data evaluating the potential beneficial effects that coffee may have on brain health in aging. The participants will also be able to understand the effects of aging on the brain and how nutrition might protect against these decrements.