Aged laboratory animals that ate a diet rich in the berry and grape compound pterostilbene performed better than those in a group that did not eat the enriched diet, scientists with the Agricultural Research Service report.


Pterostilbene reversed measurable negative effects of aging on brain function and behavioral performance.


Neuroscientist James Joseph, psychologist Barbara Shukitt-Hale and colleagues at the Jean Mayer at Tufts University in Boston, Mass., collaborated on the study with ARS chemist Agnes Rimando from Oxford, Miss.


For the two-part study, the researchers wanted to determine if pterostilbene could help reverse the effects of aging on mature rats, according to a news release.  


The first part of the study tested seven stilbene compounds in cell cultures and found that pterostilbene was the most effective at preventing oxidative stress. 


During the second part, they fed aged rats one of three diets: control or control adjusted to include either low or high concentrations of pterostilbene.


The results indicated that pterostilbene was effective in reversing cognitive decline in aging rates. It also improved working memory.


The authors noted that there are additional berry compounds that show similar potential that they continue to investigate in animal and cell models. 


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