Tea drinking may protect against alzeimers
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Tea drinking may protect against Alzheimers-study
25 Oct 2004 23:01:03 GMT
LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Drinking tea may help protect against Alzheimer's disease, though it is by no means a cure for the brain-crippling illness, British scientists said on Tuesday.
Scientists at Newcastle University in England said their research shows that a regular "cuppa" could slow development of the affliction that fogs the memory of otherwise healthy people.
"Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, tea could potentially be another weapon in the armoury which is used to treat this disease and slow down its development," lead researcher Ed Okello said.
They found that both green and black tea inhibited the activity of enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, but that coffee had no significant effect.
About one million people die from the illness annually and there is no known medical explanation for why it affects humans.
Results of laboratory tests by the university's research team found that green and black tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the chemical messenger or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine -- Alzheimer's is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine.
The scientists said green and black tea also hindered the activity of the enzyme butyrycholinesterase (BuChE), which has been discovered in protein deposits found on the brain of Alzheimer's patients.
GREEN TEA FARES BETTER
However, green tea scored better in several tests and had a longer-lasting affect, the research, showed which is published Tuesday in the academic journal, Phytotherapy Research.
"Our findings are particularly exciting as tea is already a very popular drink, it is inexpensive, and there do not seem to be any adverse side effects when it is consumed. Still, we expect it will be several years until we are able to produce anything marketable," Okello said.
The researchers said the next step is to find out exactly which components of green tea inhibit the activity of the enzymes AChE, BuChE and beta-secretase.
Newcastle University is seeking funding to carry out further tests on green tea, which they hope will include clinical trials.
Their aim is to work towards the development of a medicinal tea which is specifically aimed at Alzheimer's sufferers.