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Long-term use of vitamin C and E supplements appears to improve cognitive function in older women, research suggests.* In an effort to determine the effect of supplement use on mental agility, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston conducted telephone interviews of nearly 15,000 female participants in the Nurses' Health Study. At the time of the interviews, all of the women were between 70 and 79 years of age.
The researchers tested cognitive function by asking the women to perform such tasks as recalling a list of 10 words and repeating a series of numbers backwards. They then compared the results to the women's self-reported use of vitamin supplements. "We found evidence of better overall performance on our cognitive tests among long-term users of vitamins E and C combined than among women who had never taken either vitamin, and performance improved significantly with increasing duration of use," wrote the researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. *Grodstein F, Chen J, Willett WC. High-dose antioxidant supplements and cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Apr;77(4):975-84. (Source: Life Extension Magazine, May 2004.)