Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children

Abstract

Purpose

Previously, anthocyanin-rich blueberry treatments have shown positive effects on cognition in both animals and human adults. However, little research has considered whether these benefits transfer to children. Here we describe an acute time-course and dose–response investigation considering whether these cognitive benefits extend to children.

Methods

Using a double-blind cross-over design, on three occasions children (n = 21; 7–10 years) consumed placebo (vehicle) or blueberry drinks containing 15 or 30 g freeze-dried wild blueberry (WBB) powder. A cognitive battery including tests of verbal memory, word recognition, response interference, response inhibition and levels of processing was performed at baseline, and 1.15, 3 and 6 h following treatment.

Results

Significant WBB-related improvements included final immediate recall at 1.15 h, delayed word recognition sustained over each period, and accuracy on cognitively demanding incongruent trials in the interference task at 3 h. Importantly, across all measures, cognitive performance improved, consistent with a dose–response model, with the best performance following 30 g WBB and the worst following vehicle.

Conclusion

Findings demonstrate WBB-related cognitive improvements in 7- to 10-year-old children. These effects would seem to be particularly sensitive to the cognitive demand of task.

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Correspondence to Claire M. Williams.

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Whyte, A.R., Schafer, G. & Williams, C.M. Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children. Eur J Nutr 55, 2151–2162 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1029-4

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Keywords

  • Flavonoid
  • Children
  • Anthocyanin
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Executive function