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Nutritional supplement improves cognitive performance in older adults, study finds
Date:2/6/2014

Brent Small, PhD, a professor in USF's School of Aging Studies. "Processing speed is most often affected early on in the course of cognitive aging. Successful performance in processing tasks often underlies more complex cognitive outcomes, such as memory and verbal ability."

Blueberries, a major ingredient in the NT-020 formula, are rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant containing a polyphenolic, or natural phenol substructure.

"The basis for the use of polyphenol-rich nutritional supplements as a moderator of age-related cognitive decline is the age-related increase in oxidative stress and inflammation," said study co-principal investigator Paula C. Bickford, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and senior research career scientist at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, FL. "Non-vitamin polyphenols are the most abundant modulators of oxidative stress and inflammation in our diet. NT-020 is 95 percent polyphenols."

In several preclinical trials, researchers gave aging laboratory rats NT-020 to see if it boosted memory and other cognitive performance by promoting the health of neurons in the aging brain. Those studies demonstrated that NT-020 promoted the growth of stem cells in the brain, produced an overall rejuvenating effect, benefitted animals with simulated stroke, and led to better cognitive performance.

The researchers plan future clinical trials with longer intervention periods so that the optimal time for taking the formula may be better understood. The researchers speculated that if the study had included participants cognitively less healthy, or those with memory impairments, they may have observed "more robust findings."

"In the future, having markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as brain-based measures of functioning, may allow us to identify the manner by which this compound, as well as others, may influ
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3303
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert  

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