A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled design was employed to investigate the effects of Zn supplementation on cognitive function in 387 healthy adults aged 55–87 years. Several measures of visual memory, working memory, attention and reaction time were obtained using the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery at baseline and then after 3 and 6 months of 0 (placebo), 15 or 30 mg Zn/d. Younger adults (<70 years) performed significantly better on all tests than older adults (>70 years), and performance improved with practice on some measures. For two out of eight dependent variables, there were significant interactions indicating a beneficial effect (at 3 months only) of both 15 and 30 mg/d on one measure of spatial working memory and a detrimental effect of 15 mg/d on one measure of attention. Further work is required to establish whether these findings generalise to older adults in poorer mental and physical health and with less adequate Zn intake and status than the present sample
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