Flavonoids and cognitive function: a review of human randomized controlled trial studies and recommendations for future studies
Macready, A. L., Kennedy, O. B., Ellis, J. A., Williams, C. M., Spencer, J. P. E. and Butler, L. T. (2009) Flavonoids and cognitive function: a review of human randomized controlled trial studies and recommendations for future studies. Genes and Nutrition, 4 (4). pp. 227-242. ISSN 1555-8932
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s12263-009-0135-4
Evidence in support of the neuroprotective effects of flavonoids has increased significantly in recent years, although to date much of this evidence has emerged from animal rather than human studies. Nonetheless, with a view to making recommendations for future good practice, we review 15 existing human dietary intervention studies that have examined the effects of particular types of flavonoid on cognitive performance. The studies employed a total of 55 different cognitive tests covering a broad range of cognitive domains. Most studies incorporated at least one measure of executive function/working memory, with nine reporting significant improvements in performance as a function of flavonoid supplementation compared to a control group. However, some domains were overlooked completely (e.g. implicit memory, prospective memory), and for the most part there was little consistency in terms of the particular cognitive tests used making across study comparisons difficult. Furthermore, there was some confusion concerning what aspects of cognitive function particular tests were actually measuring. Overall, while initial results are encouraging, future studies need to pay careful attention when selecting cognitive measures, especially in terms of ensuring that tasks are actually sensitive enough to detect treatment effects.