Young again

2019-03-07 05:05:18

By Jens Thomas A DAILY serving of blueberries keeps you young, at least if you’re a rat. Animals that ate the fruit recovered some of the coordination normally lost with old age. James Joseph of Tufts University in Boston was studying antioxidant-rich foods like strawberries, spinach and blueberries. Antioxidants reverse some memory loss linked to old age, probably by mopping up free radicals in the brain. For eight weeks, Joseph fed supplements of strawberries, spinach or blueberries to three groups of 19-month-old rats—the equivalent of 60 to 65 years old for humans. He then assessed their memories and mobility in standard tests. All the rats showed improvements in memory compared with rats that were not given antioxidant-rich food to eat. Surprisingly, the rats fed with blueberries also had better balance and coordination in tasks such as running along a rod (The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 19, p 8114). Joseph suspects that the extra coordination may be due to substances in blueberries called polyphenolics. There is evidence that some of these improve the way neurons signal to each other and also reduce inflammation in the brain linked to age. Molly Wagster, from the National Institute on Aging near Washington DC, says: “It may have implications not only for normal cognitive motor function,