Cheatham Lab’s B.E.R.R.Y. Study Preliminary Results

As we age, we experience gradual cognitive decline as our brains process things slower and our ability to remember things decreases. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to effect the areas of the brain that are related to memory and processing in animal studies. The effect of blueberries on brain function in humans is only now beginning to be tested. Thus, in the Cheatham Lab we conducted the B.E.R.R.Y (Blueberries: Exciting Research Relevant to You) study, and set out to determine if consuming blueberries would have an effect on mild cognitive decline in humans.
In order to answer this question, we conducted a 6-month double-blind (neither the researchers nor the par-ticipants knew to which powder group they belonged) clinical trial with 65- to 79-year-olds. We used freeze-dried blueberry powder supplied by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and purchased a placebo developed by the Highbush Blueberry Council.
[read more about Dr. Cheatham’s results in this double-blind study.]


Visiting Scholar’s Research Assists Development of Training Program

The Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) welcomes visiting scholar Rodrigo San Cristobal from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, who is working with NRI faculty member Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D., to develop a certification program in nutrigenetics for licensed healthcare professionals.
San Cristobal is a Ph.D. student in the Nutrition Research Centre of the University of Navarra. His thesis is on personalized nutrition within the framework of the Food4Me project, a human intervention study performed on a large cohort across seven countries, through an online platform, to develop new scientific tools for the exploration of dietary, phenotypic and genotypic data in personalized nutrition.
His research makes San Cristobal particulary qualified to work with Kohlmeier, a renowned nutrition educator, in creating coursework for a nutrigenetics certification program.
[read more about San Cristobal’s research and the nutrigenetics training program.]

Appetite for Life

A few spots remain for the Genetics and Health lecture on September 13. Register today. Registration for October’s talk will open on September 19. Check our website for details.

  • September 13, 6 PM, at Restaurant 46 in Kannapolis
  • October 18, 6 PM, at Restaurant 46 in Kannapolis
  • November 15, 6 PM, at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte


Fruity Couscous

Designed by: Chef Mark Allison, Director of Culinary Nutrition, Dole Food Company  .

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cups Dole berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts or combination of nuts and seeds


  1. Place the couscous and cinnamon into a large bowl. Finely grate the zest from 1 of the oranges, then squeeze the juice into a small sauce pan with zest and vanilla. Add honey and 1 cup of water; bring to a boil. Pour over the couscous, then ocver with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Peel the remaining orange and thinly slice into rounds. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous; then mix in most of the nuts and seeds.
  3. Serve the couscous in bowls topped with the slice oranges, pomegranate seeds, kiwifruits and raspberries. Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon and the remaining chopped nuts and a squeeze of honey.

Nutrition Facts
Kiwi: Norwegian researchers found that eating two kiwis per day can significantly lower blood-clot risk and reduce blood lipids.
Strawberry: UCLA researchers report that strawberries’ anthocyanins may suppress colon, prostate and oral cancer cells.
Pistachios: Contain phytosterols, compounds similar in structure to cholesterol that can inhibit cholesterol absorption by the body. [read more] 

Excellence in the Ideraabdullah Lab

  • Laetitia Meyrueix, Ph.D. student, was selected for the Global Cardiometabolic Disease Training Grant funded by NHLBI via the Department of Nutrition
  • Jing Xue, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, had her abstract selected for presentation at the UNC Department of Genetics retreat
  • Folami Ideraabdullah, Ph.D., spoke at the Society for the Study of Reproduction conference in July