Adrian R. Whyte M.Sc., Claire M. Williams Ph.D.
Objective: Recent evidence from animals and adult humans has demonstrated potential benefits to cognition from flavonoid supplementation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether these cognitive benefits extended to a sample of school-aged children.
Method: Using a crossover design, with a washout of at least 7 d between drinks, 14 children ages 8 to 10 y consumed either a flavonoid-rich blueberry drink or a matched vehicle. Two h after consumption, the children completed a battery of five cognitive tests comprising the Go-NoGo, Stroop, Rey’s Auditory Verbal Learning Task, Object Location Task, and a Visual N-back.
Results: In comparison to the vehicle, the blueberry drink produced significant improvements in the delayed recall of a previously learned list of words, showing for the first time a cognitive benefit for acute flavonoid intervention in children. However, performance on a measure of pro- active interference indicated that the blueberry intervention led to a greater negative impact of previously memorized words on the encoding of a set of new words. There was no benefit of our blueberry intervention for measures of attention, response inhibition, or visuospatial memory.
Conclusions: Although findings are mixed, the improvements in delayed recall found in this pilot study suggest that, following acute flavonoid-rich blueberry interventions, school-aged children encode memory items more effectively.