Objective: Lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) have known benefits to eye health and emerging findings suggest cognitive benefits as well. The present study investigated underlying neural mechanisms using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). It was hypothesized that L + Z supplementation would enhance neural efficiency (i.e., reduce activation) and cognitive performance during learning in older adults relative to controls. Method: A double blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted in 44 community-dwelling volunteers (mean age = 72 years, 59% female, 100% Caucasian). Participants consumed L + Z (12 mg; n = 30) or placebo (n = 14) daily for 12 months. An fMRI-adapted verbal learning task involving learning and recalling word pairs was administered at baseline and post-intervention. Using SPM12, active baseline trials were subtracted from learning trials to create a blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal contrast (p < 0.05, family-wise-error-corrected, minimum voxel cluster = 8). A flexible factorial model was used...

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