A new study has found that eating walnuts could help in the fight against the dreaded Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, led by Abha Chauhan, discovered a huge improvement in mice in terms of their memory, learning skills and motor development, along with significant reduction in anxiety when the animals are fed a diet enriched with walnuts.

According to Chauhan, the results of the study could form the foundation for studies in the future that would use walnuts against Alzheimer's disease. 

While walnuts are not expected to serve as treatment for Alzheimer's disease, for which there is currently no known cure, a diet rich in walnuts could prove to be beneficial to those suffering from it.

According to Chauhan, the group that she led studied the effects of adding walnuts to the diet of mice as a supplement. The amount they used is about 6 percent to 9 percent walnuts, which will translate to about 1 ounce to 1.5 ounces of walnuts daily for humans.

One ounce of walnuts could be considered one serving, an amount that is about 12 halves to 14 halves of the nut or a quarter of a cup.

The researchers think that walnuts, which contain high amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, could greatly help protect the brain from degenerating, which is what Alzheimer's disease does to a person.

The new research stemmed from a previous cell culture study that was also led by Chauhan. The study showed the protection that walnut extract can provide against the amyloid beta protein, which causes oxidative damage.

The amyloid beta protein is the most important component of the amyloid plaques that occur in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"Our study adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the protective effects of walnuts on cognitive functioning," Chauhan said.

Previous studies revealed that walnuts, and other kinds of nuts, are able to provide protection to the heart whenever a person is stressed. Harvard Medical School researchers have reported that eating nuts, including walnuts, regularly can reduce the risk of cardio vascular diseases.

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids have also been previously shown to help fight against Alzheimer's disease, in a study conducted by researchers at the University of South Dakota.

Over 5 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer's disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. By 2050, it is expected that the number of people with the disease among those 65 years old and older will triple.

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