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      Effects of a Lutein and Zeaxanthin Intervention on Cognitive Function: A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Younger Healthy Adults

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          Abstract

          Background: Past studies have suggested that higher lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) levels in serum and in the central nervous system (as quantified by measuring macular pigment optical density, MPOD) are related to improved cognitive function in older adults. Very few studies have addressed the issue of xanthophylls and cognitive function in younger adults, and no controlled trials have been conducted to date to determine whether or not supplementation with L + Z can change cognitive function in this population. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not supplementation with L + Z could improve cognitive function in young (age 18–30), healthy adults. Design: A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial design was used. Fifty-one young, healthy subjects were recruited as part of a larger study on xanthophylls and cognitive function. Subjects were randomized into active supplement ( n = 37) and placebo groups ( n = 14). MPOD was measured psychophysically using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry. Cognitive function was measured using the CNS Vital Signs testing platform. MPOD and cognitive function were measured every four months for a full year of supplementation. Results: Supplementation increased MPOD significantly over the course of the year, vs. placebo ( p < 0.001). Daily supplementation with L + Z and increases in MPOD resulted in significant improvements in spatial memory ( p < 0.04), reasoning ability ( p < 0.05) and complex attention ( p < 0.04), above and beyond improvements due to practice effects. Conclusions: Supplementation with L + Z improves CNS xanthophyll levels and cognitive function in young, healthy adults. Magnitudes of effects are similar to previous work reporting correlations between MPOD and cognition in other populations.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function.

          It has long been suspected that the relative abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions. Newly described influences of dietary factors on neuronal function and synaptic plasticity have revealed some of the vital mechanisms that are responsible for the action of diet on brain health and mental function. Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability. In addition, well-established regulators of synaptic plasticity, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, can function as metabolic modulators, responding to peripheral signals such as food intake. Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition will help us to determine how best to manipulate diet in order to increase the resistance of neurons to insults and promote mental fitness.
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            Reliability and validity of a computerized neurocognitive test battery, CNS Vital Signs.

            CNS Vital Signs (CNSVS) is a computerized neurocognitive test battery that was developed as a routine clinical screening instrument. It is comprised of seven tests: verbal and visual memory, finger tapping, symbol digit coding, the Stroop Test, a test of shifting attention and the continuous performance test. Because CNSVS is a battery of well-known neuropsychological tests, one should expect its psychometric properties to resemble those of the conventional tests upon which it is based. 1069 subjects age 7-90 participated in the normative database for CNSVS. Test-retest reliability (TRT) was evaluated in 99 Ss who took the battery on two separate occasions, separated, on the average, by 62 days; the results were comparable to those achieved by equivalent conventional and computerized tests. Concurrent validity studies in 180 subjects, normals and neuropsychiatric patients, indicate correlations that are comparable to the concurrent validity of similar tests. Discriminant validity is supported by studies of patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, post-concussion syndrome and severe traumatic brain injury, ADHD (treated and untreated) and depression (treated and untreated). The tests in CNSVS are also sensitive to malingerers and patients with conversion disorders. The psychometric characteristics of the tests in the CNSVS battery are very similar to the characteristics of the conventional neuropsychological tests upon which they are based. CNSVS is suitable for use as a screening instrument, or as a serial assessment measure. But it is not a substitute for formal neuropsychological testing, it is not diagnostic, and it will have only a limited role in the medical setting, absent the active participation of consulting neuropsychologists.
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              Cognitive findings of an exploratory trial of docosahexaenoic acid and lutein supplementation in older women.

              Low dietary intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and/or foods rich in lutein may be associated with increased risk of cognitive decline in the elderly. The cognitive benefit of DHA and lutein in unimpaired elder women was explored in the context of a 4-month, double-blind, intervention trial of DHA and lutein supplementation for eye health. Forty-nine women (aged 60-80 years) were randomized to receive DHA (800 mg/day; n = 14), lutein (12 mg/day; n = 11), a combination of DHA and lutein (n = 14) or placebo (n = 10). Subjects underwent cognitive tests measuring verbal fluency, memory, processing speed and accuracy, and self-reports of mood at randomization and upon completion of the trial. Following supplementation, verbal fluency scores improved significantly in the DHA, lutein, and combined treatment groups (P < 0.03). Memory scores and rate of learning improved significantly in the combined treatment group (P < 0.03), who also displayed a trend toward more efficient learning (P = 0.07). Measures of mental processing speed, accuracy and mood were not affected by supplementation. These exploratory findings suggest that DHA and lutein supplementation may have cognitive benefit for older adults.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nutrients
                Nutrients
                nutrients
                Nutrients
                MDPI
                2072-6643
                14 November 2017
                November 2017
                : 9
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013, USA; lrenzi@ 123456uga.edu (L.M.R.-H.); emily.bovier@ 123456oswego.edu (E.R.B.); fletcher.lauram@ 123456gmail.com (L.M.F.); lsmiller@ 123456uga.edu (L.S.M.); mewborn@ 123456uga.edu (C.M.M.); cal@ 123456uga.edu (C.A.L.)
                [2 ]Institute of Gerontology, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
                [3 ]Department of Psychology, State University of New York, Oswego Campus, Oswego, NY 13126, USA
                [4 ]Abbott Nutrition, Global Research and Development, Columbus, OH 43219, USA; jeffrey.baxter@ 123456abbott.com
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: bhammond@ 123456uga.edu ; Tel.: +1-(706)-542-4812
                Article
                nutrients-09-01246
                10.3390/nu9111246
                5707718
                29135938
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                Nutrition & Dietetics

                xanthophylls, cognition, reasoning, visual memory, attention

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