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Handful of walnuts daily may fight Alzheimer’s: PIO led study

New Delhi: Eating a handful of walnuts per day may help reduce the risk, delay the onset, slow the progression of, or prevent Alzheimer’s disease due to the anti inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of the dry fruit, a study led by an Indian-American scientist has claimed.

These yet to be published findings are very promising and help lay the groundwork for future human studies on walnuts and Alzheimer’s – a disease for which there is no known cure, researchers said.

“One in 10 people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s. However, the awareness about the disease is very less. It takes 10 years to show the symptoms. It is not diagnosed properly; people think it is just an old age symptom and they have started forgetting things,” Dr Abha Chauhan from New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) in the US told PTI here.

“Oxidative damage and inflammation are two prominent features in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and many other neurodegenerative diseases. Walnuts are very rich in anti inflammatory components and antioxidants,” said Chauhan, lead researcher of the study and head of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at IBR.

Demographic ageing is a global phenomenon. India’s population is undergoing a rapid demographic transition now. With demographic ageing comes the problem of dementia, researchers said.

According to the Dementia India Report 2010, India is home to more than 70 million people older than 60 years as per the 2001 census.

The number of persons with dementia double every five years of age and so India will have one of the largest numbers of elders with this problem.

In 2010, there were 3.7 million Indians with dementia and it is expected to double by 2030. The number of persons with dementia double every 5 years of age and so India will have one of the largest numbers of elders with this problem, the report said.

Amyloid beta-protein (A beta) is the major protein of amyloid deposits in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Extensive evidence suggests neurotoxic effects of soluble oligomers of A beta, and the role of oxidative stress and inflammation in AD.

According to the new study, walnuts are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components.