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Walnuts improve learning and memory in mice study claims

Published 11 July 2010

Eating walnuts significantly improves brain function in mice with Alzheimer's disease a new study has claimed.

The New York based study was presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) today (Sunday, 11 July 2010).

Researchers fed the mice a diet containing 6-9 per cent and examined them nine to 15 months later. They found the mice on the walnut diet showed significant improvement in learning, memory, emotional regulation and motor coordination compared to the mice with no walnuts in their diet.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'Walnuts are often branded as a 'super food' because they are high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Now this study suggests they could have particular benefits for improving brain function..

'However as this research is carried out on mice, we cannot say for certain that the benefits of a walnut-rich diet would be in the same for humans. This study also does not show if improving brain function reduces risk of dementia. One in three people over 65 will die with dementia. More research is now needed to see if specific foods can be beneficial. The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and not smoke.'

Professor Clive Ballard
Director of Research
Alzheimer's Society