Objective: This study aimed at using quantitative assessment of human electric brain activity during mental work for determining acute effects of ingested oat herb extract on cognitive performance.
Design: Within a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study, two dosages of a special oat preparation of Avena sativa herba (1250 or 2500 mg of Neuravena®) were compared to placebo. An electroencephalogram was recorded while the patient had eyes open for 6 minutes, eyes closed for 4 minutes, performance of a concentration test (d2) for 5 minutes, and performance of mental arithmetic (KLT) for 5 minutes. Source density was calculated and spectral frequency changes were averaged to give one value for each frequency range.
Results: Using quantitative brain mapping technology (CATEEM®), main effects were observed in the left frontotemporal area, known to be involved in cognitive tasks. Statistically significant differences were observed during resting (lowering of spectral δ power) and during performance of the d2-concentration test (enhancement of spectral θ power) (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively). Also, during performance of mental arithmetic, greater enhancement of θ power was observed but only at a lower error probability (p = 0.115). No effects could be seen using the P300 paradigm during presentation of a visual stimulus.
Conclusions: These changes suggest that oat herb extract might be effective in healthy subjects, resulting in a positive impact on cognitive performance.