Eating walnuts may help slow cognitive decline in at-risk groups of the elderly population, a new study suggests. It is a very important health advice.
The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that walnut consumption by healthy, elderly adults had little effect on cognitive function over two years, but it had greater effect on elderly adults who had smoked more and had a lower baseline neuropsychological test scores.
“While this was a minor result, it could lead to better outcomes when conducted over longer periods of time,” said study researcher Joan Sabate from Loma Linda University in the US.
“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,” Sabate added.
The study examined nearly 640 free-living elders in Loma Linda, California, US, and in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. For two years, the test group included walnuts in their daily diet, and the control group abstained from walnuts.
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, which have previously been found to counteract oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are drivers of cognitive decline, the researchers said.
According to the researchers, this was the largest and most well-controlled trial ever conducted on the effects of nuts on cognition.
Sabate and his research team were the first to discover the cholesterol-lowering effect of nut consumption — specifically walnuts — with lowering blood cholesterol. Findings were first published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993. (IANS)
Using e-cigarettes alters the mouth’s microbiome — the community of bacteria and other microorganisms — and makes users more prone to inflammation and infection, researchers have found.
While vaping has quickly grown in popularity in recent years, a growing number of people are falling ill or dying from vaping-related illnesses, the study said.
“Our study suggests that vaping electronic cigarettes causes shifts in the oral environment and highly influences the colonisation of complex microbial biofilms, which raises the risk for oral inflammation and infection,” said Indian-origin researcher and study co-author Deepak Saxena from the New York University in the US.
“Given the popularity of vaping, it is critical that we learn more about the effects of e-cigarette aerosols on the oral microbiome and host inflammatory responses in order to better understand the impact of vaping on human health,” said co-senior author Xin Li. For the study, published in the journal iScience, the research team examined e-cigarette vapour and its influence on the oral microbiome and immune health.
“The oral microbiome is of interest to us because research shows that changes in its microbial community as a result of environmental and host factors contribute to a range of health issues, including cavities, gum disease, halitosis, and medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers,” Saxena said. They also evaluated how vaping influences infection efficiency of oral pathogens in cell lines using a novel e-cigarette aerosol generating machine and measured pro-inflammatory immune mediators.
Through oral exams and saliva samples, the researchers studied the oral microbiome of 119 human participants from three groups: e-cigarette users, regular cigarette smokers, and those who had never smoked. Gum disease or infection was significantly higher among cigarette smokers (72.5 per cent), followed by e-cigarette users (42.5 per cent) and non-smokers (28.2 per cent).
Using 16S rRNA high throughput sequencing, a technique used to profile microbial communities, the researchers observed different microorganisms in the saliva of e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and non-smokers. For instance, e-cigarette users had an abundance of Porphyromonas bacteria, while an increase in Veillonella bacteria was found in both e-cigarette and cigarette users.
“The predominance of these periodontal pathogens in the mouths of e-cigarette users and traditional smokers is a reflection of compromised periodontal health,” said Li.
The researchers also found that the altered microbiome in e-cigarette users influenced the local host immune environment compared to non-smokers and cigarette smokers. IL-6 and IL1ß — cytokines involved in inflammatory responses — were highly elevated in e-cigarette users. Cell studies also showed upregulation of IL-6 after exposure to e-cigarette aerosols, resulting in an elevated inflammatory response.