Posted on Jan 07, 2011, 6 a.m.
Consuming blueberries for two months improves scores on standardized memory testing, in a lab animal model.
Blueberry consumption has previously been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, as the fruit’s beneficial effects are posited to result from their flavonoid content, namely anthocyanins and flavanols. Flavonoids are speculated to exert beneficial effects on learning and memory by enhancing existing neuronal connections, improving cellular communications and stimulating neuronal regeneration. David Malin, from the University of Houston (Texas, USA), and colleagues examined the effects of consuming a blueberry-enriched diet among aging laboratory rats. The team observed that those animals receiving the blueberry diet performed better on standardized cognitive assessments, as compared to animals not receiving a berry-enriched diet. Two months of blueberry supplementation resulted in a maintenance of the improved performance after the supplementation period ended. Further, rats on the blueberry diet increased their memory scores, while the control animals displayed a decline in memory scores. The researchers conclude that: “These results suggest that a considerable degree of age-related object memory decline can be prevented and reversed by brief maintenance on [blueberry] diets.”
David H. Malin, David R. Lee, Pilar Goyarzu, Yu-Hsuan Chang, Lalanya J. Ennis, Elizabeth Beckett, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, James A. Joseph. “Short-term blueberry-enriched diet prevents and reverses object recognition memory loss in aging rats.” Nutrition, 18 Dec. 2010.