K.W.Kallus, J.A.J. Schmitt and D. Benton
Published in European Journal of Nutrition 2005;44(8):459-498
ILSI Europe has the pleasure to announce that three articles commissioned by the Mental Performance Task Force entitled “1) General methodological consideration for the assessment of nutritional influences on human cognitive functions, 2) Attention, psychomotor functions and age, 3) How should we measure nutrition-induced improvements in memory? ” have been published in the European Journal of Nutrition (2005) 44,8: 459-498.
Nutrition might play an important role to ameliorate or to buffer age-related declines in attention and psychomotor functions. The assessment of nutritional effects in aged subjects has to take into account that attention and psychomotor functions can be subdivided in different functions that are differentially affected by age.
This paper gives an overview of changes in different facets of attention and psychomotor functions beyond fifty as well as assessment methods for attention and psychomotor performance. It also provides a review of models to explain the pattern of changes with increasing age, and discusses the problems of high performance variance and of age related confounding variables like health status. Two different approaches are discussed that analyse a performance profile and an experimentally oriented functional microanalysis of changes in performance with respect to the effects of nutrition on attention and psychomotor functions.
Addressed are examples of missing age-related deficits or even age-related superiority. Caffeine and ginseng are considered as examples to enhance performance in older persons. Results are in accordance with data on the positive role of physical fitness for mental performance in older persons. Performance of older persons can well be enhanced by functional food components or nutritional supplementation.
The effects are comparable to the effects obtained in younger groups, while there is only weak evidence for specific compensatory effects in aged persons. Finally the role of nutrition for the processes of healthy ageing is discussed.
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