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First Research to Find Walnuts to Improve Cognitive and Motor Function

FOLSOM, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire/ --

    WHAT:    New research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found
             a diet containing as much as 6% walnuts (equivalent to 1 oz in
             humans) was able to reverse age-related motor and cognitive
             deficits in aged rats. The researchers believe that walnuts may
             have the ability to protect the brain by quenching the age-
             related free radicals, as well as promote neuronal communication
             and growth of new neurons. They concluded that adding walnuts
             to your diet may increase "health span" and provide a "longevity
             dividend" by delaying the onset of debilitating neurogenerative

             British Journal of Nutrition (2009),101,1140-1144: Dose-
             dependent effects of walnuts on motor and cognitive function in
             aged rats.

    WHO:     Interview Available: 

             - James Joseph, Ph.D. - Researcher/Neuroscientist at the Jean
               Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Researcher Center on Aging at Tufts

             Researcher Dr. James Joseph believes these findings show great
             promise for future studies looking into fighting age related
             degeneration of motor and cognitive abilities through foods such
             as walnuts. "Considering the numerous compounds found in
             walnuts: essential fatty acids, the plant-based omega-3 alpha
             linolenic acid (ALA), polyphenols and antioxidants, these
             results are not surprising," says Dr. Joseph. In fact, he
             believes "adding just 7 to 9 walnuts a day to an otherwise
             healthy diet may help older people improve cognitive skills."

    WHY:     According to the CDC, among Americans 65 years and older, one in
             four experiences cognitive decline, approximately 6-10% have
             dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia have Alzheimer's
             disease(1). Although research has not found a way to prevent
             dementia or Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline may be
             preventable. Recent studies suggest that consuming specific
             foods, being physically active and engaging in social activities
             may help you maintain and improve your cognitive health.


SOURCE California Walnut Commission
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