Special Issue "Nutrition in Cognitive Function"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2015).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Andrew Scholey
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University Victoria 3122, Melbourne, Australia
Fax: +61 392 145525
Interests: neurocognitive and mood effects of nutrition and nutraceuticals; cognition enhancing and anti-stress effects of natural medicines; blood glucose and cognitive function; neurocognitive effects of recreational drug use; use of novel platforms (internet, PDAs, mobile phone) for assessing mood state and cognitive performance
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jonathon Reay
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Head of Psychology at Teesside University. School of Social Sciences, Business and Law, Teesside University, Middlesbrough S1 3BA, UK
Interests: the neurocognitive and physiological effects of herbal supplements and phytochemicals, nutrients and nutritional products and recreational drug use, with broader interests concerning the impact upon public health and policy
Dr. Michael A. Smith
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Interests: psychological and cognitive functioning in type 2 diabetes; Nutritional influences (specifically carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, chewing gum) on cognitive performance and mood; the role of the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in stress and health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue will include evidence-based studies and reviews of neurocognitive effects of specific bioactive nutrients and nutritional and/or dietary interventions. It will focus on recent emerging studies which address possible mechanisms of action.

Prof. Dr. Andrew Scholey
Dr. Jonathon Reay
Dr. Michael A. Smith
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • cognition
  • mood
  • brain
  • supplements
  • diet
  • nutrition

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
DHA Supplementation Alone or in Combination with Other Nutrients Does not Modulate Cerebral Hemodynamics or Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults
Nutrients 2016, 8(2), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020086 - 09 Feb 2016
Cited by 18
Abstract
A number of recent trials have demonstrated positive effects of dietary supplementation with the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on measures of cognitive function in healthy young and older adults. One potential mechanism [...] Read more.
A number of recent trials have demonstrated positive effects of dietary supplementation with the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on measures of cognitive function in healthy young and older adults. One potential mechanism by which EPA, and DHA in particular, may exert these effects is via modulation of cerebral hemodynamics. In order to investigate the effects of DHA alone or provided as one component of a multinutrient supplement (also including Gingko biloba, phosphatidylserine and vitamins B9 and B12) on measures of cerebral hemodynamics and cognitive function, 86 healthy older adults aged 50–70 years who reported subjective memory deficits were recruited to take part in a six month daily dietary supplementation trial. Relative changes in the concentration of oxygenated hemoglobin and deoxygenated hemoglobin were assessed using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) during the performance of cognitive tasks prior to and following the intervention period. Performance on the cognitive tasks was also assessed. No effect of either active treatment was found for any of the NIRS measures or on the cognitive performance tasks, although the study was limited by a number of factors. Further work should continue to evaluate more holistic approaches to cognitive aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an l-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial
Nutrients 2016, 8(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8010053 - 19 Jan 2016
Cited by 17
Abstract
l-theanine (γ-glutamylethylamide) is an amino acid found primarily in the green tea plant. This study explored the effects of an l-theanine-based nutrient drink on mood responses to a cognitive stressor. Additional measures included an assessment of cognitive performance and resting state [...] Read more.
l-theanine (γ-glutamylethylamide) is an amino acid found primarily in the green tea plant. This study explored the effects of an l-theanine-based nutrient drink on mood responses to a cognitive stressor. Additional measures included an assessment of cognitive performance and resting state alpha oscillatory activity using magnetoencephalography (MEG). Thirty-four healthy adults aged 18–40 participated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled, balanced crossover study. The primary outcome measure, subjective stress response to a multitasking cognitive stressor, was significantly reduced one hour after administration of the l-theanine drink when compared to placebo. The salivary cortisol response to the stressor was reduced three hours post-dose following active treatment. No treatment-related cognitive performance changes were observed. Resting state alpha oscillatory activity was significantly greater in posterior MEG sensors after active treatment compared to placebo two hours post-dose; however, this effect was only apparent for those higher in trait anxiety. This change in resting state alpha oscillatory activity was not correlated with the change in subjective stress response or the cortisol response, suggesting further research is required to assess the functional relevance of these treatment-related changes in resting alpha activity. These findings further support the anti-stress effects of l-theanine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Gestational Vitamin 25(OH)D Status as a Risk Factor for Receptive Language Development: A 24-Month, Longitudinal, Observational Study
Nutrients 2015, 7(12), 9918-9930; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7125499 - 02 Dec 2015
Cited by 18
Abstract
Emerging data suggest that vitamin D status during childhood and adolescence can affect neurocognitive development. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether gestational 25(OH)D status is associated with early childhood cognitive and receptive language development. The Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and [...] Read more.
Emerging data suggest that vitamin D status during childhood and adolescence can affect neurocognitive development. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether gestational 25(OH)D status is associated with early childhood cognitive and receptive language development. The Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood Study (CANDLE) study enrolled 1503 mother-child dyads during the second trimester of healthy singleton pregnancies from Shelby County TN. Among 1020 participants of the total CANDLE cohort for whom 25(OH)D levels were available, mean gestational 25(OH)D level during the second trimester was 22.3 ng/mL (range 5.9–68.4), with 41.7% of values <20 ng/dL. Cognitive and language scaled scores increased in a stair-step manner as gestational 25(OH)D levels in the second trimester rose from <20 ng/dL, through 20–29.99 ng/dL, to ≥30 ng/dL. When controlling for socioeconomic status, race, use of tobacco products, gestational age of the child at birth, and age at the 2-year assessment, the gestational 25(OH)D was positively related to receptive language development (p < 0.017), but not cognitive or expressive language. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Synergistic Effects of Human Milk Nutrients in the Support of Infant Recognition Memory: An Observational Study
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 9079-9095; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7115452 - 03 Nov 2015
Cited by 15
Abstract
The aim was to explore the relation of human milk lutein; choline; and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with recognition memory abilities of six-month-olds. Milk samples obtained three to four months postpartum were analyzed for fatty acids, lutein, and choline. At six months, participants were [...] Read more.
The aim was to explore the relation of human milk lutein; choline; and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with recognition memory abilities of six-month-olds. Milk samples obtained three to four months postpartum were analyzed for fatty acids, lutein, and choline. At six months, participants were invited to an electrophysiology session. Recognition memory was tested with a 70–30 oddball paradigm in a high-density 128-lead event-related potential (ERP) paradigm. Complete data were available for 55 participants. Data were averaged at six groupings (Frontal Right; Frontal Central; Frontal Left; Central; Midline; and Parietal) for latency to peak, peak amplitude, and mean amplitude. Difference scores were calculated as familiar minus novel. Final regression models revealed the lutein X free choline interaction was significant for the difference in latency scores at frontal and central areas (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001; respectively). Higher choline levels with higher lutein levels were related to better recognition memory. The DHA X free choline interaction was also significant for the difference in latency scores at frontal, central, and midline areas (p < 0.01; p < 0.001; p < 0.05 respectively). Higher choline with higher DHA was related to better recognition memory. Interactions between human milk nutrients appear important in predicting infant cognition, and there may be a benefit to specific nutrient combinations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Concentration at Birth in Belgian Neonates and Cognitive Development at Preschool Age
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 9018-9032; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7115450 - 02 Nov 2015
Cited by 16
Abstract
The main objective of the study was to investigate the effect of MID during late pregnancy, assessed by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration at neonatal screening, on cognitive development of preschool children. A retrospective cohort study including 311 Belgian preschool children of 4–6 [...] Read more.
The main objective of the study was to investigate the effect of MID during late pregnancy, assessed by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration at neonatal screening, on cognitive development of preschool children. A retrospective cohort study including 311 Belgian preschool children of 4–6 years old was conducted. Children were selected at random from the total list of neonates screened in 2008, 2009, and 2010 by the Brussels new-born screening center. Infants with congenital hypothyroidism, low birth weight, and/or prematurity were excluded from the selection. The selected children were stratified by gender and TSH-range (0.45–15 mIU/L). Cognitive abilities were assessed using Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence—third edition. In addition, several socioeconomic, parental, and child confounding factors were assessed. Neonatal TSH concentration—a surrogate marker for MID—was not associated with Full Scale and Performance IQ scores in children. Lower Verbal IQ scores were found in children with neonatal TSH values comprised between 10–15 mIU/L compared to lower TSH levels in univariate analysis but these results did not hold when adjusting for confounding factors. Current levels of iodine deficiency among pregnant Belgian women may not be severe enough to affect the neurodevelopment of preschool children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Four-Week Supplementation with a Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Preparation on Mood and Blood Biomarkers in Young Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 9005-9017; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7115451 - 30 Oct 2015
Cited by 16
Abstract
This study explored the effects of four-week multi-vitamin and mineral (MVM) supplementation on mood and neurocognitive function in healthy, young adults. Fifty-eight healthy adults, 18–40 years of age (M = 25.82 years, SD = 4.87) participated in this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, [...] Read more.
This study explored the effects of four-week multi-vitamin and mineral (MVM) supplementation on mood and neurocognitive function in healthy, young adults. Fifty-eight healthy adults, 18–40 years of age (M = 25.82 years, SD = 4.87) participated in this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, in which mood and blood biomarkers were assessed at baseline and after four weeks of supplementation. Compared to placebo, MVM supplementation was associated with significantly lowered homocysteine and increased blood B-vitamin levels (p < 0.01). MVM treatment was also associated with significantly improved mood, as measured by reduced scores on the “depression-dejection” subscale of the Profile of Mood States (p = 0.018). These findings suggest that the four weeks of MVM supplementation may have beneficial effects on mood, underpinned by elevated B-vitamins and lowered homocysteine in healthy young adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation of the Acute Effects of Oligofructose-Enriched Inulin on Subjective Wellbeing, Mood and Cognitive Performance
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 8887-8896; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7115441 - 28 Oct 2015
Cited by 17
Abstract
Inulin is a natural food component found in many plants that are part of the human diet (e.g., leeks, onions, wheat, garlic, chicory and artichokes). It is added to many foods and is used to increase dietary fibre, replace fats or carbohydrates, and [...] Read more.
Inulin is a natural food component found in many plants that are part of the human diet (e.g., leeks, onions, wheat, garlic, chicory and artichokes). It is added to many foods and is used to increase dietary fibre, replace fats or carbohydrates, and as a prebiotic (a stimulant of beneficial bacteria in the colon). Oligofructose, which is also present in these foods, produces similar effects and most research has used a combination of these products. A previous study (Smith, 2005) investigated the effects of regular consumption of oligofructose-enriched inulin on wellbeing, mood, and cognitive performance in humans. The results showed that oligofructose-enriched inulin had no negative effects but that it did not improve wellbeing, mood, or performance. The aim of the present study was to examine the acute effects of oligofructose-enriched inulin (5 g) over a 4 h period during which the participants remained in the laboratory. A double blind placebo (maltodextrin) controlled study (N = 47) was carried out with the order of conditions being counterbalanced and the two sessions a week apart. On each test day mood and cognitive performance were assessed at baseline (at 8:00) and then following inulin or placebo (at 11:00). Prior to the second test session (at 10:30) participants completed a questionnaire assessing their physical symptoms and mental health during the test morning. The inulin and placebo were provided in powder form in 5 g sachets. Volunteers consumed one sachet in decaffeinated tea or decaffeinated coffee with breakfast (9:00). Questionnaire results showed that on the day that the inulin was consumed, participants felt happier, had less indigestion and were less hungry than when they consumed the placebo. As for performance and mood tasks, the most consistent effects were on the episodic memory tasks where consumption of inulin was associated with greater accuracy on a recognition memory task, and improved recall performance (immediate and delayed). Further research is required to identify the mechanisms that underlie this effect with glucose metabolism being one candidate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessArticle
Supplementation of Antipsychotic Treatment with the Amino Acid Sarcosine Influences Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Parameters in Left Frontal White Matter in Patients with Schizophrenia
Nutrients 2015, 7(10), 8767-8782; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7105427 - 22 Oct 2015
Cited by 7
Abstract
Dysfunction of the glutamatergic system, the main stimulating system in the brain, has a major role in pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The frontal white matter (WM) is partially composed of axons from glutamatergic pyramidal neurons and glia with glutamatergic receptors. The natural amino acid [...] Read more.
Dysfunction of the glutamatergic system, the main stimulating system in the brain, has a major role in pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The frontal white matter (WM) is partially composed of axons from glutamatergic pyramidal neurons and glia with glutamatergic receptors. The natural amino acid sarcosine, a component of a normal diet, inhibits the glycine type 1 transporter, increasing the glycine level. Thus, it modulates glutamatergic transmission through the glutamatergic ionotropic NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptor, which requires glycine as a co-agonist. To evaluate the concentrations of brain metabolites (NAA, N-acetylaspartate; Glx, complex of glutamate, glutamine, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA); mI, myo-inositol; Cr, creatine; Cho, choline) in the left frontal WM, Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy was used. Twenty-five patients randomly chosen from a group of fifty with stable schizophrenia (DSM-IV-TR) and dominant negative symptoms, who were receiving antipsychotic therapy, were administered 2 g of sarcosine daily for six months. The remaining 25 patients received placebo. Assignment was double blinded. 1H-NMR spectroscopy (1.5 T) was performed twice: before and after the intervention. NAA, Glx and mI were evaluated as Cr and Cho ratios. All patients were also assessed twice with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Results were compared between groups and in two time points in each group. The sarcosine group demonstrated a significant decrease in WM Glx/Cr and Glx/Cho ratios compared to controls after six months of therapy. In the experimental group, the final NAA/Cr ratio significantly increased and Glx/Cr ratio significantly decreased compared to baseline values. Improvement in the PANSS scores was significant only in the sarcosine group. In patients with schizophrenia, sarcosine augmentation can reverse the negative effect of glutamatergic system overstimulation, with a simultaneous beneficial increase of NAA/Cr ratio in the WM of the left frontal lobe. Our results further support the glutamatergic hypothesis of schizophrenia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Asiatic Acid on Spatial Working Memory and Cell Proliferation in the Adult Rat Hippocampus
Nutrients 2015, 7(10), 8413-8423; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7105401 - 05 Oct 2015
Cited by 18
Abstract
Asiatic acid is a pentacyclic triterpene from Centella asiatica. Previous studies have reported that asiatic acid exhibits antioxidant and neuroprotective activities in cell culture. It also prevents memory deficits in animal models. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship [...] Read more.
Asiatic acid is a pentacyclic triterpene from Centella asiatica. Previous studies have reported that asiatic acid exhibits antioxidant and neuroprotective activities in cell culture. It also prevents memory deficits in animal models. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between spatial working memory and changes in cell proliferation within the hippocampus after administration of asiatic acid to male Spraque-Dawley rats. Control rats received vehicle (propylene glycol) while treated rats received asiatic acid (30 mg/kg) orally for 14 or 28 days. Spatial memory was determined using the novel object location (NOL) test. In animals administered asiatic acid for both 14 and 28 days, the number of Ki-67 positive cells in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus was significantly higher than in control animals. This was associated with a significant increase in their ability to discriminate between novel and familiar object locations in a novel object discrimination task, a hippocampus-dependent spatial memory test. Administration of asiatic acid also significantly increased doublecortin (DCX) and Notch1 protein levels in the hippocampus. These findings demonstrate that asiatic acid treatment may be a potent cognitive enhancer which improves hippocampal-dependent spatial memory, likely by increasing hippocampal neurogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of APOE rs429358, rs7412 and GSTM1/GSTT1 Polymorphism on Plasma and Erythrocyte Antioxidant Parameters and Cognition in Old Chinese Adults
Nutrients 2015, 7(10), 8261-8273; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7105391 - 24 Sep 2015
Cited by 4
Abstract
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) and oxidative damage were correlated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Glutathione S-transferase (GST) polymorphism was proved to be associated with body antioxidant capacity and involved in the oxidative damage related chronic diseases. To explore the combined effects [...] Read more.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) and oxidative damage were correlated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Glutathione S-transferase (GST) polymorphism was proved to be associated with body antioxidant capacity and involved in the oxidative damage related chronic diseases. To explore the combined effects of APOE rs429358, rs7412 and GSTM1/T1 polymorphism on antioxidant parameters and cognition in old Chinese adults, a community-based cross-sectional study was carried out in 477 Chinese adults aged from 55 to 75. Information on demography and lifestyle of the participants was collected with a questionnaire. Cognitive function was measured by using a Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test. Fasting venous blood samples were collected for APOE rs429358, rs7412 and GSTM1/T1 genotyping, and parameter measurement. No association of APOE rs7412, rs429358 and GSTM1/T1 polymorphisms with cognition was detected in the old Chinese adults. APOE rs429358, rs7412 polymorphism was mainly associated with plasma α-tocopherol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and plasma total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) levels (p < 0.05). Interaction of APOE rs429358 and GSTT1 genotype on the plasma triglyceride (TG) level and erythrocyte catalase (CAT) and GST enzyme activities were detected (p < 0.05). The subjects with APOE rs429358 T/C + C/C and GSTT1− genotype were found to have the highest plasma TG level, erythrocyte CAT enzyme activity, and the lowest GST enzyme activity compared to subjects with other genotypes (p < 0.05). Lowest erythrocyte CAT enzyme activity and highest glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) enzyme activity were detected in the subjects with APOE rs7412 T/C + T/T and GSTM1+ genotype as compared with subjects with other genotypes. The levels of plasma and erythrocyte antioxidant parameters were APOE genotype associated. GSTM1 or GSTT1 genotype modified the influence of APOE rs7412, rs429358 polymorphism on antioxidant parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessArticle
Associations between B Vitamins and Parkinson’s Disease
Nutrients 2015, 7(9), 7197-7208; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095333 - 27 Aug 2015
Cited by 25
Abstract
B vitamins may correlate with Parkinson’s disease (PD) through regulating homocysteine level. However, there is no comprehensive assessment on the associations between PD and B vitamins. The present study was designed to perform a meta-analytic assessment of the associations between folate, vitamin B6, [...] Read more.
B vitamins may correlate with Parkinson’s disease (PD) through regulating homocysteine level. However, there is no comprehensive assessment on the associations between PD and B vitamins. The present study was designed to perform a meta-analytic assessment of the associations between folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 and PD, including the status of B vitamins in PD patients compared with controls, and associations of dietary intakes of B vitamins and risk of PD. A literature search using Medline database obtained 10 eligible studies included in the meta-analyses. Stata 12.0 statistical software was used to perform the meta-analysis. Pooled data revealed that there was no obvious difference in folate level between PD patients and healthy controls, and PD patients had lower level of vitamin B12 than controls. Available data suggested that higher dietary intake of vitamin B6 was associated with a decreased risk of PD (odds ratio (OR) = 0.65, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = (0.30, 1.01)), while no significant association was observed for dietary intake of folate and vitamin B12 and risk of PD. PD patients had lower level of vitamin B12 and similar level of folate compared with controls. Dietary intake of vitamin B6 exhibited preventive effect of developing PD based on the available data. As the number of included studies is limited, more studies are needed to confirm the findings and elucidate the underpinning underlying these associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Association between Serum Copper Status and Working Memory in Schoolchildren
Nutrients 2015, 7(9), 7185-7196; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095331 - 27 Aug 2015
Cited by 7
Abstract
Trace elements such as copper are essential micronutrients. Traditionally, copper has been studied in the context of micronutrient deficiencies. Recent studies in both animals and humans, however, have revealed that elevated blood copper can also have adverse effects on cognitive function since free [...] Read more.
Trace elements such as copper are essential micronutrients. Traditionally, copper has been studied in the context of micronutrient deficiencies. Recent studies in both animals and humans, however, have revealed that elevated blood copper can also have adverse effects on cognitive function since free copper can cross the blood-brain barrier and subsequently impose oxidative stress to neuronal cells. However, most of these human studies were conducted in adult populations with and without cognitive decline, and there are few studies on the effect of excess copper on cognitive function in children. This project seeks to look at the effects of elevated copper levels on cognitive development in a population of school age children (ages 10–14 years with mean age of 12.03 years and standard deviation (SD) of 0.44) from Jintan, China. Briefly, serum copper levels and working memory test scores were collected from a sample of 826 children with a mean serum copper level of 98.10 (SD 0.75). Copper level was considered as a categorical variable (taking the first group as those with as ≤84.3 μg/dL, the second group as >84.3 and ≤110.4 μg/dL, and the third group as >110.4 μg/dL with the cut-off values defined by the first and third quartiles of the sample). Results showed a significant association between high copper levels (>110.4 μg/dL) and poorer working memory in boys but this association was not seen in lower copper levels in either sex. These results suggests that in school age children, like in adults, elevated copper levels have the potential to adversely affect cognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Diet-Induced Cognitive Deficits: The Role of Fat and Sugar, Potential Mechanisms and Nutritional Interventions
Nutrients 2015, 7(8), 6719-6738; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7085307 - 12 Aug 2015
Cited by 61
Abstract
It is of vital importance to understand how the foods which are making us fat also act to impair cognition. In this review, we compare the effects of acute and chronic exposure to high-energy diets on cognition and examine the relative contributions of [...] Read more.
It is of vital importance to understand how the foods which are making us fat also act to impair cognition. In this review, we compare the effects of acute and chronic exposure to high-energy diets on cognition and examine the relative contributions of fat (saturated and polyunsaturated) and sugar to these deficits. Hippocampal-dependent memory appears to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of high-energy diets and these deficits can occur rapidly and prior to weight gain. More chronic diet exposure seems necessary however to impair other sorts of memory. Many potential mechanisms have been proposed to underlie diet-induced cognitive decline and we will focus on inflammation and the neurotrophic factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Finally, given supplementation of diets with omega-3 and curcumin has been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function in healthy ageing humans and in disease states, we will discuss how these nutritional interventions may attenuate diet-induced cognitive decline. We hope this approach will provide important insights into the causes of diet-induced cognitive deficits, and inform the development of novel therapeutics to prevent or ameliorate such memory impairments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Supplementation with a Vitamin and Mineral Complex with Guaraná Prior to Fasted Exercise on Affect, Exertion, Cognitive Performance, and Substrate Metabolism: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2015, 7(8), 6109-6127; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7085272 - 27 Jul 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
Exercise undertaken in a fasted state can lead to higher post-exercise mental fatigue. The administration of a vitamin and mineral complex with guaraná (MVM + G) has been shown to attenuate mental fatigue and improve performance during cognitively demanding tasks. This placebo-controlled, double-blind, [...] Read more.
Exercise undertaken in a fasted state can lead to higher post-exercise mental fatigue. The administration of a vitamin and mineral complex with guaraná (MVM + G) has been shown to attenuate mental fatigue and improve performance during cognitively demanding tasks. This placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, balanced cross-over study examined the effect of MVM + G consumed prior to morning exercise on cognitive performance, affect, exertion, and substrate metabolism. Forty active males (age 21.4 ± 3.0 year; body mass index (BMI) 24.0 ± 2.4 kg/m2; maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max) 57.6 ± 7.3 mL/min/kg) completed two main trials, consuming either MVM + G or placebo prior to a 30-min run at 60% V̇O2max. Supplementation prior to exercise led to a small but significant reduction in Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) during exercise compared to the placebo. The MVM + G combination also led to significantly increased accuracy of numeric working memory and increased speed of picture recognition, compared to the placebo. There were no significant effects of supplementation on any other cognitive or mood measures or on substrate metabolism during exercise. These findings demonstrate that consuming a vitamin and mineral complex containing guaraná, prior to exercise, can positively impact subsequent memory performance and reduce perceived exertion during a moderate-intensity run in active males. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Associations between Vitamin D Status, Supplementation, Outdoor Work and Risk of Parkinson’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis Assessment
Nutrients 2015, 7(6), 4817-4827; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7064817 - 15 Jun 2015
Cited by 16
Abstract
The present study aimed to quantitatively assess the associations between vitamin D and Parkinson’s Disease (PD) risks, which include: (i) risk of PD in subjects with deficient and insufficient vitamin D levels; (ii) association between vitamin D supplementation and risk of PD; and [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to quantitatively assess the associations between vitamin D and Parkinson’s Disease (PD) risks, which include: (i) risk of PD in subjects with deficient and insufficient vitamin D levels; (ii) association between vitamin D supplementation and risk of PD; and (iii) association between outdoor work and PD risk, through meta-analyzing available data. An electronic literature search supplemented by hand searching up to March 2015 identified seven eligible studies comprising 5690 PD patients and 21251 matched controls. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of PD risk were assessed through pooling the collected data from eligible studies using Stata software. Pooled data showed that subjects with deficient and insufficient vitamin D levels had increased PD risks compared with matched-controls according to the corresponding OR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.63 to 2.65, and 1.29, 95% CI: 1.10 to 1.51. Vitamin D supplementation was associated with significantly reduced risk of PD (OR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.90). Outdoor work was also related to reduced risk of PD (OR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.63 to 0.81). The findings may stimulate larger, well-designed studies to further verify the associations between vitamin D and PD risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Supplementation with Beta Serum Concentrate (BSC), a Complex of Milk Lipids, during Post-Natal Brain Development Improves Memory in Rats
Nutrients 2015, 7(6), 4526-4541; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7064526 - 05 Jun 2015
Cited by 14
Abstract
We have previously reported that the supplementation of ganglioside-enriched complex-milk-lipids improves cognitive function and that a phospholipid-enriched complex-milk-lipid prevents age-related cognitive decline in rats. This current study evaluated the effects of post-natal supplementation of ganglioside- and phospholipid-enriched complex-milk-lipids beta serum concentrate (BSC) on [...] Read more.
We have previously reported that the supplementation of ganglioside-enriched complex-milk-lipids improves cognitive function and that a phospholipid-enriched complex-milk-lipid prevents age-related cognitive decline in rats. This current study evaluated the effects of post-natal supplementation of ganglioside- and phospholipid-enriched complex-milk-lipids beta serum concentrate (BSC) on cognitive function in young rats. The diet of male rats was supplemented with either gels formulated BSC (n = 16) or blank gels (n = 16) from post-natal day 10 to day 70. Memory and anxiety-like behaviors were evaluated using the Morris water maze, dark–light boxes, and elevated plus maze tests. Neuroplasticity and white matter were measured using immunohistochemical staining. The overall performance in seven-day acquisition trials was similar between the groups. Compared with the control group, BSC supplementation reduced the latency to the platform during day one of the acquisition tests. Supplementation improved memory by showing reduced latency and improved path efficiency to the platform quadrant, and smaller initial heading error from the platform zone. Supplemented rats showed an increase in striatal dopamine terminals and hippocampal glutamate receptors. Thus BSC supplementation during post-natal brain development improved learning and memory, independent from anxiety. The moderately enhanced neuroplasticity in dopamine and glutamate may be biological changes underlying the improved cognitive function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Blood Biomarkers but No Cognitive Effects from 16 Weeks of Multivitamin Supplementation in Healthy Older Adults
Nutrients 2015, 7(5), 3796-3812; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7053796 - 19 May 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
Supplementation with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients may be beneficial for cognition, especially in older adults. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of multivitamin supplementation in older adults on cognitive function and associated blood biomarkers. In a randomised, double blind, [...] Read more.
Supplementation with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients may be beneficial for cognition, especially in older adults. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of multivitamin supplementation in older adults on cognitive function and associated blood biomarkers. In a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, healthy women (n = 68) and men (n = 48) aged 55–65 years were supplemented daily for 16 weeks with women’s and men’s formula multivitamin supplements. Assessments at baseline and post-supplementation included computerised cognitive tasks and blood biomarkers relevant to cognitive aging. No cognitive improvements were observed after supplementation with either formula; however, several significant improvements were observed in blood biomarkers including increased levels of vitamins B6 and B12 in women and men; reduced C-reactive protein in women; reduced homocysteine and marginally reduced oxidative stress in men; as well as improvements to the lipid profile in men. In healthy older people, multivitamin supplementation improved a number of blood biomarkers that are relevant to cognition, but these biomarker changes were not accompanied by improved cognitive function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review
Nutrients 2016, 8(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068 - 27 Jan 2016
Cited by 127
Abstract
The B-vitamins comprise a group of eight water soluble vitamins that perform essential, closely inter-related roles in cellular functioning, acting as co-enzymes in a vast array of catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions. Their collective effects are particularly prevalent to numerous aspects of brain [...] Read more.
The B-vitamins comprise a group of eight water soluble vitamins that perform essential, closely inter-related roles in cellular functioning, acting as co-enzymes in a vast array of catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions. Their collective effects are particularly prevalent to numerous aspects of brain function, including energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis/repair, genomic and non-genomic methylation, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules. However, human epidemiological and controlled trial investigations, and the resultant scientific commentary, have focused almost exclusively on the small sub-set of vitamins (B9/B12/B6) that are the most prominent (but not the exclusive) B-vitamins involved in homocysteine metabolism. Scant regard has been paid to the other B vitamins. This review describes the closely inter-related functions of the eight B-vitamins and marshals evidence suggesting that adequate levels of all members of this group of micronutrients are essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning. Furthermore, evidence from human research clearly shows both that a significant proportion of the populations of developed countries suffer from deficiencies or insufficiencies in one or more of this group of vitamins, and that, in the absence of an optimal diet, administration of the entire B-vitamin group, rather than a small sub-set, at doses greatly in excess of the current governmental recommendations, would be a rational approach for preserving brain health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessReview
Chicken Essence for Cognitive Function Improvement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2016, 8(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8010057 - 20 Jan 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
Chicken essence (CE) is a popular traditional remedy in Asia, which is believed to improve cognitive functions. CE company claimed that the health benefits were proven with research studies. A systematic review was conducted to determine the cognitive-enhancing effects of CE. We systematically [...] Read more.
Chicken essence (CE) is a popular traditional remedy in Asia, which is believed to improve cognitive functions. CE company claimed that the health benefits were proven with research studies. A systematic review was conducted to determine the cognitive-enhancing effects of CE. We systematically searched a number of databases for randomized controlled trials with human subjects consuming CE and cognitive tests involved. Cochrane’s Risk of Bias (ROB) tool was used to assess the quality of trials and meta-analysis was performed. Seven trials were included, where six healthy subjects and one subject with poorer cognitive functions were recruited. One trial had unclear ROB while the rest had high ROB. For executive function tests, there was a significant difference favoring CE (pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) of −0.55 (−1.04, −0.06)) and another with no significant difference (pooled SMD of 0.70 (−0.001, 1.40)). For short-term memory tests, no significant difference was found (pooled SMD of 0.63 (−0.16, 1.42)). Currently, there is a lack of convincing evidence to show a cognitive enhancing effect of CE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessReview
Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis
Nutrients 2016, 8(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8010056 - 20 Jan 2016
Cited by 91
Abstract
The serotonergic system forms a diffuse network within the central nervous system and plays a significant role in the regulation of mood and cognition. Manipulation of tryptophan levels, acutely or chronically, by depletion or supplementation, is an experimental procedure for modifying peripheral and [...] Read more.
The serotonergic system forms a diffuse network within the central nervous system and plays a significant role in the regulation of mood and cognition. Manipulation of tryptophan levels, acutely or chronically, by depletion or supplementation, is an experimental procedure for modifying peripheral and central serotonin levels. These studies have allowed us to establish the role of serotonin in higher order brain function in both preclinical and clinical situations and have precipitated the finding that low brain serotonin levels are associated with poor memory and depressed mood. The gut-brain axis is a bi-directional system between the brain and gastrointestinal tract, linking emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with peripheral functioning of the digestive tract. An influence of gut microbiota on behaviour is becoming increasingly evident, as is the extension to tryptophan and serotonin, producing a possibility that alterations in the gut may be important in the pathophysiology of human central nervous system disorders. In this review we will discuss the effect of manipulating tryptophan on mood and cognition, and discuss a possible influence of the gut-brain axis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessReview
A Review of the Cognitive Effects Observed in Humans Following Acute Supplementation with Flavonoids, and Their Associated Mechanisms of Action
Nutrients 2015, 7(12), 10290-10306; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7125538 - 09 Dec 2015
Cited by 40
Abstract
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in varying concentrations in many plant-based foods. Recent studies suggest that flavonoids can be beneficial to both cognitive and physiological health. Long term flavonoid supplementation over a period of weeks or months has been extensively investigated and reviewed, [...] Read more.
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in varying concentrations in many plant-based foods. Recent studies suggest that flavonoids can be beneficial to both cognitive and physiological health. Long term flavonoid supplementation over a period of weeks or months has been extensively investigated and reviewed, particularly with respect to cognitive ageing and neurodegenerative disease. Significantly less focus has been directed towards the short term effects of single doses of flavonoids on cognition. Here, we review 21 such studies with particular emphasis on the subclass and dose of flavonoids administered, the cognitive domains affected by flavonoid supplementation, and the effect size of the response. The emerging evidence suggests that flavonoids may be beneficial to attention, working memory, and psychomotor processing speed in a general population. Episodic memory effects are less well defined and may be restricted to child or older adult populations. The evidence also points towards a dose-dependent effect of flavonoids, but the physiological mechanisms of action remain unclear. Overall, there is encouraging evidence that flavonoid supplementation can benefit cognitive outcomes within an acute time frame of 0–6 h. But larger studies, combining cognitive and physiological measures, are needed to strengthen the evidence base. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessReview
Copper-2 Ingestion, Plus Increased Meat Eating Leading to Increased Copper Absorption, Are Major Factors Behind the Current Epidemic of Alzheimer’s Disease
Nutrients 2015, 7(12), 10053-10064; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7125513 - 02 Dec 2015
Cited by 15 | Correction
Abstract
It has become clear that copper toxicity is playing a major role in Alzheimer’s disease; but why is the brain copper toxicity with cognition loss in Alzheimer’s disease so much different clinically than brain copper toxicity in Wilson’s disease, which results in a [...] Read more.
It has become clear that copper toxicity is playing a major role in Alzheimer’s disease; but why is the brain copper toxicity with cognition loss in Alzheimer’s disease so much different clinically than brain copper toxicity in Wilson’s disease, which results in a movement disorder? Furthermore, why is the inorganic copper of supplement pills and in drinking water so much more damaging to cognition than the organic copper in food? A recent paper, which shows that almost all food copper is copper-1, that is the copper-2 of foods reverts to the reduced copper-1 form at death or harvest, gives new insight into these questions. The body has an intestinal transport system for copper-1, Ctr1, which channels copper-1 through the liver and into safe channels. Ctr1 cannot absorb copper-2, and some copper-2 bypasses the liver, ends up in the blood quickly, and is toxic to cognition. Humans evolved to handle copper-1 safely, but not copper-2. Alzheimer’s is at least in part, a copper-2 toxicity disease, while Wilson’s is a general copper overload disease. In this review, we will show that the epidemiology of the Alzheimer’s epidemic occurring in developed, but not undeveloped countries, fits with the epidemiology of exposure to copper-2 ingestion leached from copper plumbing and from copper supplement pill ingestion. Increased meat eating in developed countries is also a factor, because it increases copper absorption, and thus over all copper exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessReview
Impact of Nutrition on Cerebral Circulation and Cognition in the Metabolic Syndrome
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 9416-9439; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7115477 - 13 Nov 2015
Cited by 17
Abstract
The increasing prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), defined as the clustering of abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperglycemia, appears to be driving the global epidemics cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Nutrition has a major impact on MetS and plays [...] Read more.
The increasing prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), defined as the clustering of abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperglycemia, appears to be driving the global epidemics cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Nutrition has a major impact on MetS and plays an important role in the prevention, development, and treatment of its features. Structural and functional alterations in the vasculature, associated with MetS, might form the link between MetS and the increased risk of developing CVD and T2DM. Not only does the peripheral vasculature seem to be affected, but the syndrome has a profound impact on the cerebral circulation and thence brain structure as well. Furthermore, strong associations are shown with stroke, cognitive impairment, and dementia. In this review the impact of nutrition on the individual components of MetS, the effects of MetS on peripheral and cerebral vasculature, and its consequences for brain structure and function will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessReview
Shared Neuropathological Characteristics of Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Impacts on Cognitive Decline
Nutrients 2015, 7(9), 7332-7357; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095341 - 01 Sep 2015
Cited by 40
Abstract
In the past few decades, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), as well as older individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has increased. While the consumption of diets high in fat (total and saturated) have been linked to [...] Read more.
In the past few decades, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), as well as older individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has increased. While the consumption of diets high in fat (total and saturated) have been linked to increased risk of AD, diets rich in antioxidants, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with decreased risk. Additionally, AD patients are at increased risk for developing T2DM. Recent research suggests that there are stronger similarities between AD and T2DM than have previously been considered. Here we review the neurocognitive and inflammatory effects of high-fat diet consumption, its relationship to AD, and the treatment potential of dietary interventions that may decrease risk of cognitive decline and other associated neuropathological changes, such as insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammatory processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Gangliosides in Neurodevelopment
Nutrients 2015, 7(5), 3891-3913; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7053891 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 42
Abstract
Gangliosides are important components of neuronal cell membranes and it is widely accepted that they play a critical role in neuronal and brain development. They are functionally involved in neurotransmission and are thought to support the formation and stabilization of functional synapses and [...] Read more.
Gangliosides are important components of neuronal cell membranes and it is widely accepted that they play a critical role in neuronal and brain development. They are functionally involved in neurotransmission and are thought to support the formation and stabilization of functional synapses and neural circuits required as the structural basis of memory and learning. Available evidence, as reviewed herein, suggests that dietary gangliosides may impact positively on cognitive functions, particularly in the early postnatal period when the brain is still growing. Further, new evidence suggests that the mechanism of action may be through an effect on the neuroplasticity of the brain, mediated through enhanced synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and nigro-striatal dopaminergic pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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Other

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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Brewer, G.J. Copper-2 Ingestion, Plus Increased Meat Eating Leading to Increased Copper Absorption, Are Major Factors Behind the Current Epidemic of Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutrients 2015, 7(12), 10053–10064
Nutrients 2016, 8(4), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8040194 - 01 Apr 2016
Abstract
On page 10055, line 10, of the original publication [1] it was incorrectly stated that “However, this argument is invalid because in 1911, half the population of France was 60 or older”.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
Open AccessBrief Report
A Specific Nutrient Combination Attenuates the Reduced Expression of PSD-95 in the Proximal Dendrites of Hippocampal Cell Body Layers in a Mouse Model of Phenylketonuria
Nutrients 2016, 8(4), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8040185 - 26 Mar 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
The inherited metabolic disease phenylketonuria (PKU) is characterized by increased concentrations of phenylalanine in the blood and brain, and as a consequence neurotransmitter metabolism, white matter, and synapse functioning are affected. A specific nutrient combination (SNC) has been shown to improve synapse formation, [...] Read more.
The inherited metabolic disease phenylketonuria (PKU) is characterized by increased concentrations of phenylalanine in the blood and brain, and as a consequence neurotransmitter metabolism, white matter, and synapse functioning are affected. A specific nutrient combination (SNC) has been shown to improve synapse formation, morphology and function. This could become an interesting new nutritional approach for PKU. To assess whether treatment with SNC can affect synapses, we treated PKU mice with SNC or an isocaloric control diet and wild-type (WT) mice with an isocaloric control for 12 weeks, starting at postnatal day 31. Immunostaining for post-synaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95), a post-synaptic density marker, was carried out in the hippocampus, striatum and prefrontal cortex. Compared to WT mice on normal chow without SNC, PKU mice on the isocaloric control showed a significant reduction in PSD-95 expression in the hippocampus, specifically in the granular cell layer of the dentate gyrus, with a similar trend seen in the cornus ammonis 1 (CA1) and cornus ammonis 3 (CA3) pyramidal cell layer. No differences were found in the striatum or prefrontal cortex. PKU mice on a diet supplemented with SNC showed improved expression of PSD-95 in the hippocampus. This study gives the first indication that SNC supplementation has a positive effect on hippocampal synaptic deficits in PKU mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition in Cognitive Function)
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