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Berry fruit supplementation and the aging brain.

Abstract

The onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, superimposed on a declining nervous system, could exacerbate the motor and cognitive behavioral deficits that normally occur in senescence. In cases of severe deficits in memory or motor function, hospitalization and/or custodial care would be a likely outcome. This means that unless some way is found to reduce these age-related decrements in neuronal function, health-care costs will continue to rise exponentially. Thus, it is extremely important to explore methods to retard or reverse age-related neuronal deficits, as well as their subsequent behavioral manifestations, to increase healthy aging. In this regard, consumption of diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenolics, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, may lower the risk of developing age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Research suggests that the polyphenolic compounds found in berry fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, may exert their beneficial effects either through their ability to lower oxidative stress and inflammation or directly by altering the signaling involved in neuronal communication, calcium buffering ability, neuroprotective stress shock proteins, plasticity, and stress signaling pathways. These interventions, in turn, may exert protection against age-related deficits in cognitive and motor function. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the benefits of these interventions in rodent models and to describe the putative molecular mechanisms involved in their benefits.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

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    USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA. barbara.shukitt-hale@ars.usda.gov

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    Source

    MeSH

    Aging
    Brain
    Diet
    Flavonoids
    Fruit
    Humans
    Inflammation
    Neurodegenerative Diseases
    Oxidative Stress
    Phenols
    Polyphenols

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    18211020