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Intake of berries can reduce the rate of memory loss in old age

New Delhi, Thu, 26 Apr 2012 NI Wire

A recent study has revealed that, consumption of flavonoid rich berries, such as strawberries and blueberries in abundance, slow down the process of memory decline within older women by 2.5 years. The study was conducted in Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).

"What makes our study unique is the amount of data we analyzed over such a long period of time. No other berry study has been conducted on such a large scale," explained Elizabeth Devore, a researcher in the Channing Laboratory at BWH, who is the lead author on this study.

"Among women who consumed 2 or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week we saw a modest reduction in memory decline. This effect appears to be attainable with relatively simple dietary modifications," she said.

The research used the data of 121,700 female registered nurses between the age 30 and 55 and the questionnaires began in 1976 on health and lifestyle. Since, 1980, the participants were surveyed every four years regarding their frequency of food consumption. Later, between the year 1995 to 2001, memory was measured in 16,010 subjects over the age of 70 years, at an interval of 2-year. The participants included in the current study had a mean age of 74 and mean body mass index of 26.

Findings of the research concluded that increased intake of blueberries and strawberries was linked with a slower rate of memory decline in older women.

In addition to that, an increased consumption of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids was also related to the slow memory decline. Researchers observed that women who had higher berry intake had delayed memory decline by up to 2.5 years.

"We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries appear to slow progression of memory decline in elderly women," noted Dr. Devore.

"Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to reduce memory decline in older adults," she added.

This detail of the study has been published by Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, on April 26, 2012.

-With inputs from ANI

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