New York: Billed as a super fruit for its power to potentially lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, a new study has found that blueberries can also help reduce the devastating effects of Alzheimer's.
Blueberries are loaded with healthful antioxidants substances, which could help prevent the Alzheimer's -- an increasingly common form of dementia - effects such as decline in cognitive skills and memory, the study said.
The results of the study showed that consumption of blueberries led to an improvement in cognitive performance and brain function when compared with people who took the placebo.
Also, the patients demonstrated an improved memory skills and access to words and concepts.
A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the participants of the study revealed an increased brain activity.
"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," said lead researcher Robert Krikorian, professor at University of Cincinnati in the US.
The findings were presented at the ongoing 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego.
Blueberries are known to be rich in flavonoids called anthocyanins, which has proved to be useful in improving cognition level in animals, the researchers noted.
The team conducted two human studies. The first study involved 47 adults aged 68 and older, who had mild cognitive impairment, a risk condition for Alzheimer's disease.
They were fed with freeze-dried blueberry powder, which is equivalent to a cup of berries, or a placebo powder once a day 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 second study included 94 people aged 62 to 80, who were divided into four groups.
The groups received blueberry powder, fish oil, fish oil and powder or placebo.
The two studies indicate that blueberries may be more effective in treating patients with cognitive impairments, but may not show measurable benefit for those with minor memory issues or who have not yet developed cognitive problems, Krikorian said.