Thursday, February 12, 2015

Green Tea, Black Coffee, Less Dementia

Coffee and green tea are proving to be quite brain-friendly. Find out how. Learn why.


The Tau of Coffee

As part of a German-French research project, a team led by Dr. Christa E. Müller from the University of Bonn and Dr. David Blum from the University of Lille was able to demonstrate for the first time that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits in Alzheimer's disease. The two-years project was supported with 30,000 Euro from the non-profit Alzheimer Forschung Initiative e.V. (AFI) and with 50,000 Euro from the French Partner organization LECMA. The initial results were published in the online edition of the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Tau deposits, along with beta-amyloid plaques, are among the characteristic features of Alzheimer's disease. These protein deposits disrupt the communication of the nerve cells in the brain and contribute to their degeneration. Despite intensive research there is no drug available to date which can prevent this detrimental process. Based on the results of Prof. Dr. Christa Müller from the University of Bonn, Dr. David Blum and their team, a new class of drugs may now be developed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Caffeine, an adenosine receptor antagonist, blocks various receptors in the brain which are activated by adenosine. Initial results of the team of researchers had already indicated that the blockade of the adenosine receptor subtype A2A in particular could play an important role. Initially, Prof. Müller and her colleagues developed an A2A antagonist in ultrapure and water-soluble form (designated MSX-3). This compound had fewer adverse effects than caffeine since it only blocks only the A2A adenosine receptor subtype, and at the same time it is significantly more effective. Over several weeks, the researchers then treated genetically altered mice with the A2A antagonist. The mice had an altered tau protein which, without therapy, leads to the early development of Alzheimer's symptoms.

In comparison to a control group which only received a placebo, the treated animals achieved significantly better results on memory tests. The A2A antagonist displayed positive effects in particular on spatial memory. Also, an amelioration of the pathogenic processes was demonstrated in the hippocampus, which is the site of memory in rodents.

"We have taken a good step forward," says Prof. Müller. "The results of the study are truly promising, since we were able to show for the first time that A2A adenosine receptor antagonists actually have very positive effects in an animal model simulating hallmark characteristics and progression of the disease. And the adverse effects are minor."

The researchers now want to test the A2A antagonist in additional animal models. If the results are positive, a clinical study may follow. "Patience is required until A2A adenosine receptor antagonists are approved as new therapeutic agents for Alzheimer's disease. But I am optimistic that clinical studies will be performed," says Prof. Müller.

Your Brain on Green Tea

Green tea is said to have many putative positive effects on health. Now, researchers at the University of Basel are reporting first evidence that green tea extract enhances the cognitive functions, in particular the . The Swiss findings suggest promising clinical implications for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia. The academic journal Psychopharmacology has published their results.

In the past the main ingredients of green tea have been thoroughly studied in cancer research. Recently, scientists have also been inquiring into the beverage's positive impact on the human brain. Different studies were able to link green tea to beneficial effects on the cognitive performance. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this cognitive enhancing effect of green tea remained unknown.

Better memory

In a groundbreaking study, the researcher teams of Prof. Christoph Beglinger from the University Hospital of Basel and Prof. Stefan Borgwardt from the Psychiatric University Clinics found that green tea extract increases the brain's effective connectivity, meaning the causal influence that one brain area exerts over another. This effect on connectivity also led to improvement in actual cognitive performance: subjects tested significantly better for working memory tasks after the admission of green tea extract.

For the study healthy male volunteers received a soft drink containing several grams of green tea extract before they solved working memory tasks. The scientists then analyzed how this affected the brain activity of the men using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 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. Borgwardt said,
"Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain."

Clinical implications

The research results suggest promising clinical implications: 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 neuropsychiatric disorders such as dementia.

Sources:


Journal Reference:
  1. Cyril Laurent, Sabiha Eddarkaoui, Maxime Derisbourg, Antoine Leboucher, Dominique Demeyer, Sébastien Carrier, Marion Schneider, Malika Hamdane, Christa E. Müller, Luc Buée, David Blum. Beneficial effects of caffeine in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s Disease-like Tau pathologyNeurobiology of Aging, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.03.027

2 comments:

  1. That is interesting and there are others scientific articles that shows some neuroprotection by A2A antagonists.

    But not so fast with heavy drink of coffee and green tea.

    And to takes capsules with caffeine or with green tea powder it is threatening to health , once it can leads to ingestion of 30 to 40 times of thee dose of caffeine in coffee or green tea infusion.

    The recommended by physicians it is to drink very small doses of coffee or green tea , no more than once or twice a day , because adenosine is a natural substance produced by our bodies that it is essential to protects the heart function against heart arrhythmias , and to block receptors of adenosine (to block A2A receptors - receptor that are heart protectives), can increases the risks of heart disorders.

    To patients that have heart arrhytmias , heart diseases, etc. , even small doses of caffeine can not be a good habit, once the caffeine in the coffee or in the green tea , can works as an adenosine blocker by 6 to 9 hours after the ingestion of a dose of that beverages.
    It is a tough choice to be done if the pateint have heart disorders...

    ReplyDelete

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