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Participants needed for University research projects

20th September 2016

Researchers from Northumbria University are looking for volunteers to take part in studies looking at the effects of a compound found in grapes and red wine which may boost mental functions. 

 Northumbria University’s Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre is looking for healthy male and female participants aged between either 18-35 or 50-70 years to take part in two similar studies.

 The first, which is aimed at participants aged 50-70, is looking at how resveratrol can increase blood flow. Resveratrol is a compound found in red grapes.

 The study has already been carried out with younger adults who, in some cases, showed improved performance when their mental function was tested. The researchers now want to work with an older age group to assess the effects of resveratrol on their brain blood flow and mental performance.

 To take part in the study, participants must be healthy, non-smokers who are free from chronic health conditions and do not take other supplements. They will receive £30 for taking part in the study, in which they would be required to attend three sessions at the University’s city campus in the heart of Newcastle.

 More information about this study is available at www.tinyurl.com/ResveratrolBloodFlow

The second study is investigating if this same red grape extract can boost mental functioning at altitude in younger adults.

 Using Northumbria’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 perform mentally demanding tasks. They will then test to see if any resulting impairments can be overcome by consuming resveratrol.

 Participants for this study must be aged between 18-35 and also be non-smokers who are free from chronic health conditions and do not take other supplements, including vitamins. Those selected for this study will receive £65 for their time.

More information about this study is available at www.tinyurl.com/ResveratrolAltitude

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.”

 For further details or to express your interest, please contact tim.eschle@northumbria.ac.uk or call 0191 204 8818

 The Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre is based within Northumbria University’s renowned Department of Psychology and the protocols for these studies have been passed by Northumbria University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences Ethics Committee.

 Researchers in the Centre are also undertaking a number of other studies into the effects of lemon balm and Omega 3. Anyone interested in participating in these studies can find more detail at www.tinyurl.com/BPNRCstudies

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