Health

Green tea and blueberries can protect you from DEMENTIA, study shows

Green tea and blueberries can protect you from DEMENTIA, study shows

Green tea and blueberries can protect you from DEMENTIA, study shows

  • Compounds in tea and berries reduced plaques strongly associated with Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of degenerative dementia
  • The findings apply to more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s

Green tea can refuse dementiasuggests the study.

Chemicals found in a herbal drink called catechins reduced plaques that are strongly associated Alzheimer’s disease in a laboratory study.

The compound resveratrol – found in blueberries, grapes and red wine – also had a similar effect on human brain cells.

Catechins and resveratrol possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain their ability to clear plaque.

Researchers from Tufts University published their findings in the journal Biology and medicine of free radicals.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia affecting more than six million Americans.

It is characterized by a lack of communication between neurons in the brain, resulting in loss of function and cell death.

Catechins are compounds in green tea that have antioxidant effects that help prevent cell damage and calm inflammation in the brain.  The Tufts researchers looked at this and 20 other compounds for their anti-Alzheimer's properties, including resveratrol, common in blueberries and grapes.

Catechins are compounds in green tea that have antioxidant effects that help prevent cell damage and calm inflammation in the brain. The Tufts researchers looked at this and 20 other compounds for their anti-Alzheimer’s properties, including resveratrol, common in blueberries and grapes.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disease in which the accumulation of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.

This interferes with the transmitters that carry the messages and causes the brain to shrink.

More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than a million Britons have it.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost.

These include memory, orientation, and the ability to think and reason.

The progression of the disease is slow and gradual.

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live ten to 15 years.

EARLY SYMPTOMS:

  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Disorientation
  • Changes in behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty with money or a phone call

LATER SYMPTOMS:

  • Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
  • Becoming anxious and frustrated by our inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior
  • Eventually he loses the ability to walk
  • May have feeding problems
  • Most will eventually need 24-hour care

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

In the Alzheimer’s brain, abnormal levels of certain naturally occurring proteins clump together to form plaques that collect between neurons and interfere with cell function.

But catechins and resveratrol have been shown to be effective in reducing plaque formation in these nerve cells. And they did it with little to no side effects.

Some of the other compounds tested, including curcumin from turmeric, the diabetes drug metformin and a compound called citicoline, also prevented plaque formation.

They tested the efficacy of 21 compounds in a 3D model of neural tissue made from a non-reactive silk sponge seeded with human skin cells that, through genetic reprogramming, had been transformed into self-renewing neural stem cells.

Dr Dana Cairns, research associate at Tufts School of Engineering and leader of the study, said: ‘We were lucky that some of them showed quite strong efficacy.

‘In the case of these compounds that passed the screening, they had no visible plaques after about a week.’

The research team’s findings pointing to the anti-plaque properties of common compounds have the potential to benefit millions and build on years of research into their therapeutic benefits.

Green tea and berries are rich in flavonoids, which can reduce cell-damaging free radicals and calm inflammation in the brain and improve blood flow to the brain.

The Tufts researchers’ findings do not fully suggest that the neuroprotective properties of the 21 studied compounds will help prevent the progression of dementia.

Some of the test compounds, for example, are not easily absorbed into the body or bloodstream.

And some compounds were unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, the barrier between the brain’s blood vessels and the cells and other components that make up brain tissue.

The purpose of the blood-brain barrier is to protect against circulating toxins or pathogens that can cause brain infections.

Further study of the adaptability of these compounds is needed in order to better penetrate the bloodstream and the blood-brain barrier, says Dr. Cairns.

But her team’s findings are significant because there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and treatments to slow the progression of the disease are limited.

Alzheimer’s disease is not the only cause of dementia, which affects over 7 million people in the US. Other causes include Parkinson’s disease and vascular dementia caused by conditions that block or reduce blood flow to different regions of the brain.



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