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Green tea hasbeen hailed for many health benefits,including its effects against cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Now, new research suggests the beverage can enhance our brain’s cognitive functions,particularly the working memory.  The research team  of the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland – says their findings suggest that green tea could be promising in the treatment of cognitive impairments associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as dementia. They recently published their findings in the journal Psychopharmacology.  Green tea, native to China and India, and unlike other teas, green tea is made from unoxidized leaves. This minimal processing means it is rich in antioxidants. Previous studies have also suggested that green tea may have a beneficial impact on the brain’s cognitive functions. However, according to the researchers of this most recent study, the exact mechanisms behind this claim have been unclear.  Green tea ‘boosts connectivity between parietal and frontal cortex of the brain’. To further investigate, the team conducted a study using 12 healthy male volunteers with a mean age of 24.1 years.  Participants were given a milk whey-based soft drink containing 27.5 g of green tea extract, while others were given a soft drink without the green tea extract. Volunteers were unaware of which drink they had been given. The participants were then required to carry out a series of working memory tasks. During these tasks, their brain activity was measured using magnetic resonance imaging MRI. The researchers found that the participants who consumed the soft drink with the green tea extract showed increased connectivity between the right superior parietal lobule and the frontal cortex of the brain. This activity correlated with improved performance on the working memory tasks.  “The present study shows that green tea extract enhances functional connectivity from the parietal to the frontal cortex during working memory processing in healthy controls. Interestingly, this effect on effective connectivity was related to the green tea induced improvement in cognitive performance. The findings provide first insights into the neural effect of green tea on working memory processing at the neural network level, suggesting a mechanism on short-term plasticity of interregional brain connections.”According to the research team, since green tea appears to increase connectivity between frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing, it is worth testing the efficacy of green tea for the treatment of disorders involving cognitive impairments, such as dementia.

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