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Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Middle-Aged Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet

Carey, Amanda N., Gomes, Stacey M., Shukitt-Hale, Barbara
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2014 v.62 no.18 pp. 3972-3978
blueberries, cognition, freeze drying, high fat diet, high fat foods, low fat diet, memory, mice, middle-aged adults
Consuming a high-fat diet may result in behavioral deficits similar to those observed in aging animals. It has been demonstrated that blueberry supplementation can allay age-related behavioral deficits. To determine if supplementation of a high-fat diet with blueberries offers protection against putative high-fat diet-related declines, 9-month-old C57Bl/6 mice were maintained on low-fat (10% fat calories) or high-fat (60% fat calories) diets with and without 4% freeze-dried blueberry powder. Novel object recognition memory was impaired by the high-fat diet; after 4 months on the high-fat diet, mice spent 50% of their time on the novel object in the testing trial, performing no greater than chance performance. Blueberry supplementation prevented recognition memory deficits after 4 months on the diets, as mice on this diet spent 67% of their time on the novel object. After 5 months on the diets, mice consuming the high-fat diet passed through the platform location less often than mice on low-fat diets during probe trials on days 2 and 3 of Morris water maze testing, whereas mice consuming the high-fat blueberry diet passed through the platform location as often as mice on the low-fat diets. This study is a first step in determining if incorporating more nutrient-dense foods into a high-fat diet can allay cognitive dysfunction.