Compound in berries, grapes may help brain function

by Jeff Gelski
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BOSTON — A diet rich in the berry and grape compound pterostilbene reversed measurable negative effects of aging on brain function and behavioral performance in a rat study performed at the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

In the first part of a two-part study, researchers found pterostilbene was the most effective of seven stilbene compounds in cell structures at preventing oxidative stress. In the second part, they fed rats one of three diets: control, control adjusted to include low concentrations of pterostilbene and control adjusted to include high concentrations of pterostilbene. The results indicated pterostilbene was effective in reversing cognitive decline and that improved working memory was linked to pterostilbene levels in the brain’s hippocampus region.

Researchers included neuroscientist James Joseph, psychologist Barbara Shukitt-Hale and chemist Agnes Rimando.

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