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Green tea extract raises cognitive function

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Green tea extract boots working memory

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Green tea is presumed to have numerous effects on health. The University of Basel researchers are reporting first evidence that green tea extract enhances the cognitive functions, in particular the working memory.

Past research has thoroughly studied the active ingredients of green tea including polyphenols and flavonoids in cancer research. Recently research has looked into green tea and positive impact on the brain. Different studies were able to link green tea to beneficial effects on the cognitive performance. One such study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, found that ECGC (epigallocatechin-3 gallate) can improve cognitive function. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this putative cognitive enhancing effect of green tea extract still remain unknown.

In this new study research teams of Professor Christoph Beglinger from the University Hospital of Basel and Professor Stefan Borgwardt from the Psychiatric University Clinics examined whether the intake of green tea extract modulates effective brain connectivity during working memory processing and whether connectivity parameters are related to task performance.

For the study 12 healthy male volunteers received a milk whey-based soft drink containing 27.5 g of green tea extract or a milk whey-based soft drink without green tea as control substance while solving working memory tasks. The researchers evaluated the brain activity by using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The MRI showed increased connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain. These neuronal findings correlated positively with improvement in task performance of the participants

Professor Borgwardt commented "Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain.”

In their conclusion the researchers write “Our findings provide first evidence for the putative beneficial effect of green tea on cognitive functioning, in particular, on working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short-term plasticity of parieto-frontal brain connections. Modeling effective connectivity among frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing might help to assess the efficacy of green tea for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia.”

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