Study: Vividly colored dishes, cups improve Alzheimer's eating

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Serving meals on boldly colored plates and cups to Alzheimer's residents can boost food consumption, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University.

Food intake increased 24.6% and liquid intake increased 83.7% when the study subjects switched from white to bright red serving containers, the researchers found. When the patients switched from white to bright blue tableware, food intake increased 25.1% and liquid intake increased 29.8%.

The researchers conducted the study out of interest in discovering if severe Alzheimer's disease patients suffer weight loss because of visual problems, rendering them unable to distinguish a plate from the table, food from the plate or liquid from its container.

Health-damaging weight loss occurs in about 40% of patients with severe Alzheimer's disease. Depression, inability to focus on more than one food at a time and inability to eat independently are the main reasons cited for the weight loss, according to researchers, who detailed their findings in a recent issue of Clinical Nutrition.