Walnuts May Reducing Risk, Delay Onset or Slow Progression of Alzheimer‰Ûªs

Who can forget the Dick Van Dyke “Walnut” Episode. Hey kids look it up!

Walnuts May Reducing Risk, Delay Onset or Slow Progression of Alzheimer‰Ûªs A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer‰Ûªs Disease indicates that a diet including walnuts may have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, slowing the progression of, or preventing Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease. Research led by Abha Chauhan, PhD, head of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR), found significant improvement in learning skills, memory, reducing anxiety, and motor development in mice fed a walnut-enriched diet. The researchers suggest that the high antioxidant content of walnuts may have been a contributing factor in protecting the mouse brain from the degeneration typically seen in Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease. Oxidative stress and inflammation are prominent features in this disease. ‰ÛÏThese findings are very promising and help lay the groundwork for future human studies on walnuts and Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease ‰ÛÒ a disease for which there is no known cure,‰Û said lead researcher Dr. Abha Chauhan, PhD. ‰ÛÏOur study adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the protective effects of walnuts on cognitive functioning.‰Û The research group examined the effects of dietary supplementation on mice with 6 percent or 9 percent walnuts, which are equivalent to 1 ounce and 1.5 ounces per day, respectively, of walnuts in humans. This research stemmed from a previous cell culture study led by Dr. Chauhan that highlighted the protective effects of walnut extract against the oxidative damage caused by amyloid beta protein. This protein is the major component of amyloid plaques that form in the brains of those with Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease. Walnuts have other nutritional benefits as they contain numerous vitamins and minerals and are the only nut that contains a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid with heart and brain-health benefits. The researchers also suggest that ALA may have played a role in improving the behavioral symptoms seen in the study. An article detailing these findings, ‰ÛÏDietary Supplementation of Walnuts Improves Memory Deficits and Learning Skills in Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer‰Ûªs Disease,‰Û was published in the Journal of Alzheimer‰Ûªs Disease. The study was supported in part by funds from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the California Walnut Commission.