SAN DIEGO (CBS) – The blueberry has long been called a "super fruit" because of the evidence that it can bring down the risk of heart disease and cancer. Now, scientists are saying it might also help stave off Alzheimer's Disease.
The research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on Sunday show that antioxidants in blueberries play a key role in battling the effects of dementia.
"Our new findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults," research team leader Robert Krikorian said in a statement.
A study cited by scientists involved dozens of older adults with mild cognitive impairment, who took freeze-dried blueberry powder (equal to a cup of berries) for 16 weeks.
"There was improvement in cognitive performance and brain function in those who had the blueberry powder compared with those who took the placebo," Krikorian said. "The blueberry group demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts."
Krikorian said a flavonoid in blueberries known as anthocyanins may be behind the health benefits, and evidence has shown it can improve cognition in animals.
About 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's Disease and that number is only expected to grow.
Funding for some of the research came from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Wild Blueberries of North America and the National Council on Aging.
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