A research team at Northumbria University are examining resveratrol, which is found in red wine, and its effect on blood flow.
The team believes the substance may boost mental function by increasing blood flow to the brain and wants to test the theory with the help of healthy volunteer subjects.
A study on people aged 18-35 has already been carried out, with some participants demonstrating improved performance when their mental function was tested.
However, positive results have not been consistent. The researchers believe this may be due to studies’ tendency to focus on young healthy populations already at the peak of their mental performance .
They believe a stronger correlation indicating a more pronounced benefit may be found with older participants.
The university, based in Newcastle, is now looking for healthy male or female participants aged between 50-70 years to assess the effects of resveratrol.
Volunteers will also get £30 for their time.
Meanwhile, a second study, aiming to investigate resveratrol’s effect at altitude is also underway and requires younger volunteers.
Using Northumbria University’s state-of-the-art environmental chamber, which can simulate the physical effects of a range of temperatures and altitudes, the researchers will assess how participants aged 18-35 perform mentally demanding tasks.
They will then test to see if any resulting impairments can be overcome by consuming resveratrol, according to a statement on the university’s website.
This group of volunteers will receive £65 for their time.
PhD student, Timothy Eschle, who is leading on these studies, explained: “There are a number of benefits to consuming red grapes. A specific extract from the skin of red grapes, resveratrol, has been found to increase blood flow to the brain and in some cases, increase mental performance on cognitive tasks.
“Most studies have been carried out in young adults at the peak of their cognitive abilities, thus the benefits of resveratrol are expected to be more prominent in older adults who may suffer a slight natural decline in certain aspects of mental function such as memory and reaction time.
“We also want to establish whether resveratrol can affect mental function at altitude, which often impacts on people’s performance.”
Volunteers will take the resveratrol in capsule form.
Further information is available on the university's website.
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