chocolat .pdf

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Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary
flavanols improves cognition in older adults

Adam M Brickman,
Usman A Khan,
Frank A Provenzano,
Lok-Kin Yeung,
Wendy Suzuki,
Hagen Schroeter,
Melanie Wall,
Richard P Sloan
& Scott A Small
Corresponding author
Nature Neuroscience
26 June 2014
01 October 2014
Published online
26 October 2014
Corrected online
02 November 2014
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The dentate gyrus (DG) is a region in the hippocampal formation whose function declines in
association with human aging and is therefore considered to be a possible source of agerelated memory decline. Causal evidence is needed, however, to show that DG-associated
memory decline in otherwise healthy elders can be improved by interventions that enhance
DG function. We addressed this issue by first using a high-resolution variant of functional

magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map the precise site of age-related DG dysfunction
and to develop a cognitive task whose function localized to this anatomical site. Then, in a
controlled randomized trial, we applied these tools to study healthy 50–69-year-old subjects
who consumed either a high or low cocoa flavanol–containing diet for 3 months. A highflavanol intervention was found to enhance DG function, as measured by fMRI and by
cognitive testing. Our findings establish that DG dysfunction is a driver of age-related
cognitive decline and suggest non-pharmacological means for its amelioration.

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