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Blueberries shown to boost brain activity in advanced Alzheimer's patients


Blueberries
(NaturalNews) Chock full of antioxidants, blueberries are touted as a superfood that can ward off heart disease and cancer. Adding to the list of potential health benefits, a recent study found that blueberries can help provide protection against Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers presented their findings at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ACS is the world's largest scientific society. There will be approximately 12,500 presentations on a vast range of science-related topics at this year's meeting.

"Our new findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults," said the leader of the research project, Robert Krikorian, Ph.D.

Krikorian attributed the medicinal benefits of blueberries to a flavonoid known as anthocyanins, which has been shown to improve cognition in animals.

A growing problem

An estimated 5.2 million people are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. That number is expected to grow along with the rest of the US population. The Alzheimer's Association warns that the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease is expected to swell to 7 million people by 2025, and possibly triple by 2050.

In an attempt to unlock ways to slow the progression of the disease, Krikorian and his team conducted two new studies that investigated the medicinal impact that blueberries had on cognitive performance. The first study consisted of 47 adults aged 68 years or older who were beginning to show symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers conducted a test and brain scan on each patient. They then gave some of the participants the equivalent of a single cup of berries in a freeze-dried powder form, and the other participants a placebo. The study lasted 16 weeks.

"There was improvement in cognitive performance and brain function in those who had the blueberry powder compared with those who took the placebo," Krikorian noted in a press release. "The blueberry group demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts," he added. The researchers also conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which revealed a spike in brain activity among participants who were fed the blueberry powder.

The second study consisted of 94 people aged 62 to 80 who were divided into four groups. No objective, third-person measures showed that the patients were suffering from cognitive issues; however, the participants reported that their memories were on the decline. The researchers believed the second group had better cognitive health than the first group, but this was not verified using third-person measures. The groups were given blueberry powder, fish oil, fish oil with powder or a placebo.

"The results were not as robust as with the first study," Krikorian noted. "Cognition was somewhat better for those with powder or fish oil separately, but there was little improvement with memory." In addition, fMRI results did not show a significant spike in brain activity among the blueberry power group. Krikorian speculated the blueberries were not as effective because participants' had less severe cognitive problems entering the study.

Eat more blueberries

Krikorian said that the results of the two studies suggest that blueberries may be more effective for people with advanced cognitive issues but may not show measurable results for patients with minor memory problems.

In the future, the researchers plan to conduct a blueberry study on younger people aged 50 to 65. The group will consist of people who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, including those who are obese, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. It's hoped that the work will shed light on whether blueberries can help stymie Alzheimer's symptoms before they begin.

To learn more about how you can transform your health for the better through healthy eating habits, check out this year's fifth annual Food Revolution Summit, featuring 24 of the top healthy food experts on the plant. Click here to reserve your spot for this FREE online event today!

Sources include:

Telegraph.co.uk

FreshPlaza.com

Business-Standard.com

EurekAlert.org

Science.NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com
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