Friday, 16 November 2012

Brainy beverage: Study reveals how green tea boosts brain power

It has long been believed that drinking green tea is good for the memory. Now researchers have discovered how the chemical properties of China's favorite drink affect the generation of brain cells, providing benefits for memory and spatial learning.

The research is published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

"Green tea is a popular beverage across the world," said Professor Yun Bai from the Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China. "There has been plenty of scientific attention on its use in helping prevent cardiovascular diseases, but now there is emerging evidence that its chemical properties may impact cellular mechanisms in the brain."

Professor Bai's team focused on the organic chemical EGCG, (epigallocatechin-3 gallate) a key property of green tea. While EGCG is a known anti-oxidant, the team believed it can also have a beneficial effect against age-related degenerative diseases.

"We proposed that EGCG can improve cognitive function by impacting the generation of neuron cells, a process known as neurogenesis," said Bai. "We focused our research on the hippocampus, the part of the brain which processes information from short-term to long-term memory."

"We have shown that the organic chemical EGCG acts directly to increase the production of neural progenitor cells, both in glass tests and in mice," concluded Bai. "This helps us to understand the potential for EGCG, and green tea which contains it, to help combat degenerative diseases and memory loss."

This paper is published as part of a collection of articles bringing together high quality research on the theme of food science and technology with particular relevance to China. Browse free articles from Wiley's food science and technology publications including the Journal of Food Science, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture and Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

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Journal Reference:
Yanyan Wang, Maoquan Li, Xueqing Xu, Min Song, Huansheng Tao, Yun Bai. Green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) promotes neural progenitor cell proliferation and sonic hedgehog pathway activation during adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2012; 56 (8): 1292 DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201200035
Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Monday, 12 November 2012

New Findings reveal brain mechanisms at work during sleep

New findings presented today report the important role sleep plays, and the brain mechanisms at work as sleep shapes memory, learning, and behavior. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

One in five American adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation, making the condition a widespread public health problem. Sleeplessness is related to health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular problems, and memory problems.



Today's findings show that:
Sleepiness disrupts the coordinated activity of an important network of brain regions; the impaired function of this network is also implicated in Alzheimer's disease (Andrew Ward, abstract 909.05).Sleeplessness plays havoc with communication between the hippocampus, which is vital for memory, and the brain's "default mode network;" the changes may weaken event recollection (Hengyi Rao, PhD, abstract 626.08).In a mouse model, fearful memories can be intentionally weakened during sleep, indicating new possibilities for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (Asya Rolls, abstract 807.06).Loss of less than half a night's sleep can impair memory and alter the normal behavior of brain cells (Ted Abel, PhD, abstract 807.13).

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Society for Neuroscience.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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