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Blueberries may improve brain function in elderly

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London : Drinking 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day may improve brain function in older people that tends to decline with age, new research says.

In the study, healthy people aged 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and activation of the brain while carrying out cognitive tests.

Evidence also suggested improvement in working memory, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Blueberries are rich in flavonoids — found abundantly in plants — which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the important components in causing these effects.

“The study shows that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults,” said Joanna Bowtell from the University of Exeter in Britain.

Previous research has shown that risk of dementia is reduced by higher fruit and vegetable intake, and cognitive function is better preserved in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods.

For the study, the team included 26 healthy adults, out of which 12 were given concentrated blueberry juice — providing the equivalent of 230g of blueberries — once a day, while 14 received a placebo.

Compared to the placebo group, those who took the blueberry supplement showed significant increases in brain activity in brain areas related to the tests.

Health

China coronavirus toll reaches 908, 40,171 infected

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Beijing: The death toll due to the novel coronavirus in China on Monday increased to 908, with 40,171 confirmed cases, the country’s National Health Commission said.

Until midnight, 6,484 severe cases had been recorded while 3,281 people, who had recovered from the illness, had been discharged, Efe news reported citing the Commission as saying.

As of now, 399,487 patients in close contact with the infected have been traced, out of which 187,518 are under observation, according to the Chinese agency.

Among those under observation, 23,589 were suspected of having contracted the virus.

The latest figures indicate an increase of 97 deaths over the previous day – when 632 people were also discharged – and 3,062 new infections.

Of the 97 deaths, 91 were recorded in Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak -, and which has been under de facto quarantine since January 23.

It total, 2,618 of the 3,062 new coronavirus cases have been detected in Hubei.

Until now, all deaths but one – which occurred in the Philippines – have been in China, which accounts for about 99 per cent of those infected, although about 20 countries have confirmed cases.

The virus has already claimed more lives than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

Despite both the novel coronavirus and SARS originating in China, the geographical distribution of deaths is radically different.

SARS emerged in the southern Guangzhou province, while the coronavirus appears to have originated from a seafood market in the central-eastern city of Wuhan.

With SARS, 349 people died in mainland China, 299 in Hong Kong, 43 in Canada, 37 in Taiwan and 33 in Singapore, to mention only the most affected places, according to the figures from WHO.

Coronavirus has spread to at least 27 other countries and territories.

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