[NAFEX] FW: Blueberries May Boost Brain Power

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Nov 25 11:36:01 EST 2002


Eat your blueberries.

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From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 07:12:05 -0500
To: ARS News subscriber <lonrom at hevanet.com>
Subject: Blueberries May Boost Brain Power

STORY LEAD:
Blueberries May Boost Brain Power

___________________________________________

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Rosalie Marion Bliss, (301) 504-4318, rbliss at ars.usda.gov
November 25, 2002
___________________________________________

As an estimated 77 million baby boomers march toward retirement, more and
more of them are reaching for foods reported to be high in powerful
antioxidants. 

Now, researchers funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have
added compelling new research findings to earlier reports showing, in rat
studies, that compounds in blueberries had reversed existing short-term
memory losses.
   
The findings were presented in a poster by Gemma Casadesus, a graduate
research associate working with James A. Joseph, head of the Neuroscience
Laboratory of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
at Tufts University, Boston. The poster was presented this month at the
Society for Neuroscience's annual conference.

The researchers found an increased birth rate of brain cells in the
hippocampus--a brain region responsible for memory--in aged rats fed
blueberry supplementation equal to one cup daily in humans for two months,
when compared to nonsupplemented rats.

The hippocampus is one of the few areas in the brain that continuously
replace neurons through a process called neurogenesis, a term that
encompasses proliferation, survival and differentiation of precursor cells.

Moreover, these changes were associated with improved memory performance in
the blueberry-supplemented rats. The scientists will follow by studying the
interaction of blueberry compounds with the molecular mechanisms responsible
for the modulation of neurogenesis.

In tandem with these findings, ARS plant physiologist Freddi A. Hammerschlag
and ARS plant geneticist Lisa J. Rowland have been working to develop
blueberry cultivars endowed with cold tolerance. Such hardiness is
ultimately hoped to boost U.S. blueberry growers' current 350-million-pound
annual output.

The two plant scientists, who are with the ARS Fruit Laboratory in
Beltsville, Md., recently worked out a system to regenerate blueberry plants
from tissue taken from the commercially important cultivar, Bluecrop.
Regeneration is a laboratory technique used to produce whole plants from
single cells that have been pegged as genetically attractive.

Read more about ARS' blueberry research in the November issue of
Agricultural Research magazine, online at:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov02/berry1102.htm

ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.

___________________________________________

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