Green tea has many positive effects on health. Researchers at the University of Basel have now added enhancement of cognitive function to the list. The findings suggest promising clinical implications for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Digging deeper into the power of green tea
Past studies for green tea have been focused on its relationship to cancer, prevention and treatment. This new study turns attention to the brain. Different studies have linked green tea and its properties to beneficial effects on cognitive performance, but none have identified the neural mechanisms that make it possible.
Increases efficiency of brain connectivity
Research teams found that green tea extract increases the brain’s effective connectivity. This means that the causal influence one brain area exerts over another is influenced or enhanced by green tea. This effect on connectivity leads to improvement in actual cognitive performance. Subjects for the tests tested significantly better for working memory tasks after using green tea extract.
Increases plasticity of the brain
After drinking several grams of green tea extract, volunteers solved working memory tasks. Their efforts were captured on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI revealed increased connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain. These findings correlated with the task performance. “Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,” noted Prof. Christoph Beglinger fro mthe University Hospital of Basel.
There are promising implications in these results. By presenting effective connectivity among these key regions of the brain, frontal and parietal, researchers may be able to assess the efficacy of green tea for treatment of neurocognitive impairments in disorders like dementia.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Psychopharmacology