Loma Linda, CA, and Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain—Walnut consumption may help slow cognitive decline in at-risk groups of the elderly population,according to a studyconducted by researchers in California and Spain.

The researchers, led by Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, examined 636 elders in Loma Linda and in Barcelona. For two years, the test groups consumed walnuts daily, and the control group abstained from walnuts. The results: Healthy elderly adults saw little change, but cognitive decline was slowed in elderly adults who smoked and had a lower baseline neuropsychological test score. The study concludes: “These encouraging but inconclusive results warrant further investigation, particularly targeting disadvantaged populations, in whom greatest benefit could be expected.”
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Sabaté said in the release: “While this was a minor result, it could lead to better outcomes when conducted over longer periods of time. Further investigation is definitely warranted based on our findings, especially for disadvantaged populations, who may have the most to gain from incorporating walnuts and other nuts into their diet.”