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J Altern Complement Med. 2011 May;17(5):427-34. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0143. Epub 2011 May 12.

Ingested oat herb extract (Avena sativa) changes EEG spectral frequencies in healthy subjects.

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Justus Liebig University Giessen, Wetzlar, Germany.



This study aimed at using quantitative assessment of human electric brain activity during mental work for determining acute effects of ingested oat herb extract on cognitive performance.


Within a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study, two dosages of a special oat preparation of Avena sativa herba (1250 or 2500 mg of Neuravena®) were compared to placebo. An electroencephalogram was recorded while the patient had eyes open for 6 minutes, eyes closed for 4 minutes, performance of a concentration test (d2) for 5 minutes, and performance of mental arithmetic (KLT) for 5 minutes. Source density was calculated and spectral frequency changes were averaged to give one value for each frequency range.


Using quantitative brain mapping technology (CATEEM®), main effects were observed in the left frontotemporal area, known to be involved in cognitive tasks. Statistically significant differences were observed during resting (lowering of spectral δ power) and during performance of the d2-concentration test (enhancement of spectral θ power) (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively). Also, during performance of mental arithmetic, greater enhancement of θ power was observed but only at a lower error probability (p = 0.115). No effects could be seen using the P300 paradigm during presentation of a visual stimulus.


These changes suggest that oat herb extract might be effective in healthy subjects, resulting in a positive impact on cognitive performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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