Dementia: The small fruit that could cut your risk of the brain condition – study

Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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When it comes to dementia diet, the usual rules apply. Now, a study from the University of Cincinnati specified that enjoying blueberries may lower the risk of dementia in some middle-aged populations.

The findings, published in the journal Nutrients, looked at blueberry supplementation in 50 to 56-year-olds.

Researchers led by Robert Krikorian found that a daily dose of blueberry powder offered neurocognitive benefits in people who were overweight, prediabetic and noticed memory decline.

Krikorian explained that this population is at a higher risk of developing the brain condition later in life.

Looking at 33 people, the team explored the benefits of berries for those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease for several years.

He said: “We had observed cognitive benefits with blueberries in prior studies with older adults and thought they might be effective in younger individuals with insulin resistance.

“Alzheimer’s disease, like all chronic diseases of ageing, develops over a period of many years beginning in midlife.”

The reason why the small sweet treats are so potent comes down to anthocyanins.

The lead researcher explained that blueberries are packed with these antioxidants.

In fact, the goodie is what gives the small fruit its characteristic colour.

Apart from colouring the fruit blue, anthocyanins also help defend the plant against outside threats.

The subjects were asked to abstain from other berries for a period of twelve weeks.

During this time, they consumed a daily packet of supplement powder.

They were instructed to mix this with water and have it alongside their breakfast or dinner.

Half of the participants drank about one-half cup of the fruit, while the rest only had a placebo.

Apart from the supplement, the researchers also tested their cognitive abilities.

Those in the blueberry group saw improvement in cognitive tasks linked to executive control.

“This was evident as reduced interference of extraneous information during learning and memory,” Krikorian explained.

The study concluded that blueberries could cut the risk of certain people with an elevated risk for dementia.

Krikorian added: “The sample size is an obvious limitation of the study, so it will be important to reproduce these findings, especially by other investigators.

“In the meantime, it might be a good idea to consume blueberries on a regular basis.”

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