Snacking on blueberries from middle age could prevent dementia developing decades later, scientists say.
Experts told a major US conference that a compound in the berries may strengthen the brain’s defences against Alzheimer’s. In the absence of effective drugs, a nutritional option ‘represents a potentially potent approach to mitigate risk for late-life dementia’, they said. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia affect some 850,000 Britons and cost the economy £26billion a year.
With the search for new medicines largely fruitless, despite hundreds of drug trials and billions of pounds of funding, some experts believe more emphasis should be placed on the benefits of a healthy diet. Candidates include the humble blueberry, a ‘superfood’ already credited with lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer.
University of Cincinnati researcher Robert Krikorian (CORR) studied 47 men and women aged 68-plus who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.
The term covers the slight memory lapses that often, although not always, develop into full-blown dementia.
All were given a placebo powder or one made of freeze-dried blueberries to take once a day for four months. The blueberry powder been specially made for the study, and one sachet contained the equivalent of a small teacupful of berries. The volunteers were also put through a battery of mental tests at the study’s start and end, with a focus on memory and thinking skills that are eroded by dementia.
Source - Daily Mail