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J Neurosci. 2009 Oct 14;29(41):12795-801. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3520-09.2009.

Nutrition, brain aging, and neurodegeneration.

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  • 1USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


The onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases superimposed on a declining nervous system could enhance the motor and cognitive behavioral deficits that normally occur in senescence. It is likely that, in cases of severe deficits in memory or motor function, hospitalization and/or custodial care would be a likely outcome. This means that unless some way is found to reduce these age-related decrements in neuronal function, health care costs will continue to rise exponentially. Applying molecular biological approaches to slow aging in the human condition may be years away. So, it is important to determine what methods can be used today to increase healthy aging, forestall the onset of these diseases, and create conditions favorable to obtaining a "longevity dividend" in both financial and human terms. Recent studies suggest that consumption of diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components such as those found in fruits, nuts, vegetables, and spices, or even reduced caloric intake, may lower age-related cognitive declines and the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease.

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