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The Berries, a Bonus for the Memory

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Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain. Increased lifespans have led to population aging and brought attention to healthcare concerns associated with old age. A growing body of preclinical and clinical research has identified neurological benefits associated with the consumption of berry fruits. In addition to their now well-known antioxidant effects, dietary supplementation with berry fruits also has direct effects on the brain. Intake of these fruits may help to prevent age-related neurodegeneration and resulting changes in cognitive and motor function. In cell and animal models, berry fruits mediate signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell survival in addition to enhancing neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age- and pathology-related deficits in behavior. Recent clinical trials have extended these antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cognition-sparing effects to humans. This paper reviews recent evidence for the beneficial signaling

effects of berry fruits on the brain and behavior.   Prof. Barbara Shukitt-Hale; USDA, Agricultural Research Service Research, Psychologist, Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory. Research Focus; Behavioral and neurochemical effects of aging in rodents; investigation of motor and cognitive performance changes due to oxidative stress, using the free-radical theory of aging. Sources: ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry & Tufts University.  – Berry: The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. Grapes are an example. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors. The seeds are usually embedded in the flesh of the ovary. A plant that bears berries is said to be bacciferous. Many species of plants produce fruit that are similar to berries, but not actually berries, and these are said to be baccate. In everyday English, “berry” is a term for any small edible fruit. These “berries” are usually juicy, round or semi-oblong, brightly coloured, sweet or sour, and do not have a stone or pit, although many seeds may be present. Many berries, such as the tomato, are edible, but others in the same family, such as the fruits of the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) and the fruits of the potato are poisonous to humans. Some berries, such as Capsicum, have space rather than pulp around their seeds. G.N.

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