|BIELINSKI, DONNA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University|
|POULOSE, SHIBU - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University|
Submitted to: Federation of European Nutrition Societies European Nutrition Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/27/2015
Publication Date: 10/20/2015
Citation: Shukitt Hale, B., Thangthaeng, N., Fisher, D.R., Bielinski, D.F., Poulose, S.M. 2015. Walnuts improve neuronal and behavioral function in aging. Federation of European Nutrition Societies European Nutrition Conference. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. Vol. 67 (Suppl. 1) p. 463.
Technical Abstract: Introduction Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and polyphenols which have been shown to improve neurochemical and behavioral function. Objectives This study investigated the mechanisms associated with age-related behavioral improvements in rats fed diets supplemented with walnuts. Method / Design Young (3 months, n=30, 10/group) and old (19 months, n=45, 15/group) male Fischer 344 rats were supplemented with control (0%), 6% or 9% walnut diets for about 10 weeks, equivalent to 1oz or 1.5oz in humans, respectively. Results Behavioral testing in a radial arm water maze, conducted during weeks 9-11, showed significant effects of age, with older rats making more total, reference memory, and working memory errors. The walnut diets protected against these decrements by enhancing protective signaling, reducing inflammation in the brain, and affecting the expression of immediate early genes involved in cognitive function. Conclusions The results suggest that dietary walnuts may have protective effects on the aging brain. If these effects translate to older adults, the inclusion of walnuts in the diet present a potential means of delaying or minimizing the negative effects of aging on the brain.