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1 Older Adults as Informed Consumers: Guidance in Discussing the Utility of Dietary Supplements for Cognitive Function

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Timea Tozser*
Affiliation:
Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, Dayton, OH, USA
Tyler Ramsey
Affiliation:
Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, Dayton, OH, USA
Kassie Prevost
Affiliation:
Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, Dayton, OH, USA
Erin Yancey
Affiliation:
Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, Dayton, OH, USA
Omar Assaly
Affiliation:
Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, Dayton, OH, USA
Julie Lynn Williams
Affiliation:
Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, Dayton, OH, USA
*
Correspondence: Timea Tozser, MA Wright State University School of Professional Psychology tozser.2@wright.edu
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Abstract

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Objective:

Nationally and internationally, life expectancies continue to increase, and so are age-related cognitive impairment (Stough et al., 2015). As a result, the rise of consumer dietary supplement products has increased significantly in the last 20 years as older adults are inundated with media related to improving cognitive function. However, research on these nootropics and natural supplements reveals mixed efficacy (Brownie, 2009; Stough et al., 2015). Serendipitously, the COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the necessity for increased healthy equity and screening internationally across health service disciplines (Jensen et al., 2021; Wells & Dumbrell, 2006). This poster encompasses two primary aims: (1) to highlight common international dietary supplements marketed to an older adult population. Next, (2) develop best evidenced-based practices to approach effective use of nutritional information while maintaining a neuropsychologist’s scope of care.

Participants and Methods:

A literature review was conducted of peer review articles from 2006 to 2022 from the following databases PubMed and Google Scholar. Recommendations were constructed based on identifying and analyzing the emerging themes across identified articles. Keywords include neuropsychology, nootropics, natural supplement use, aging, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Phosphatidylserine, feedback, cognition, older adults, and international.

Results:

Although supplement use and regulations may differ by country, current research suggests increased supplement use and inquiries to neuropsychologists (Armstrong & Postal, 2013; Aysin et al., 2021). Literature highlighting the benefit of taking a natural dietary supplement for older adults across the spectrum of cognitive decline has been variable (Brownie, 2009; Haider et al., 2020). Commonly explored vitamins such as Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin B 12, and Phosphatidylserine have proven to be beneficial in improvements in cognitive domains such as attention and memory for those experiencing mild cognitive impairment (Kang et al., 2022; La Fata et al., 2014; Richter et al., 2013; Van Der Shaft et al., 2013). Therefore, one alternative for defining the utility of supplement usage may be from preventive lens for those with mild or emerging cognitive concerns (Health Quality Ontario., 2013; Joshi & Practice-, 2012). Alternatively, older populations are at risk for malnutrition, which can negatively impact cognition (Well & Dumbrell, 2006).

Conclusions:

While recognizing their clinical scope, informed neuropsychologists must be up to date on emerging literature on the efficacy of these supplements. Neuropsychologists should consider following these general guidelines when discussing recommendations for older adult clients with varying degrees of cognitive impairment. For example, neuropsychologists should approach alternative treatments as an exploration of the possible risks, costs, and benefits with evidence-based research while balancing the client’s need for hope (Armstrong & Postal, 2013). Neuropsychologists should also have increased awareness of malnutrition screening amongst this population (Gestuvo & Hung, 2012; Wells & Dumbrell, 2006). Other practices should include ongoing consultation and referral to a nutritionist or following up with their primary care physicians to assist further. With these guidelines, Neuropsychologists can be better equipped to provide ethical recommendations to facilitate clients to become informed consumers.

Type
Poster Session 05: Neuroimaging | Neurophysiology | Neurostimulation | Technology | Cross Cultural | Multiculturalism | Career Development
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023