Author Topic: Lots of green tea can aid memory  (Read 1871 times)

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Lots of green tea can aid memory
« on: May 15, 2008, 09:30:41 PM »
Lots of green tea can aid memory
Polyphenols probed in sleep disorder study
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

Drinking large quantities of green tea may help ward off memory loss and other cognitive problems in people suffering from a common sleep disorder, a study out today has found.

Researchers investigated the effects of antioxidant compounds in green tea -- known as polyphenols -- on obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep.

According to lead study author David Gozal of the University of Louisville, the drop in oxygen levels and inflammation associated with apnea can lead to the death of brain cells over time. He said the study showed that drinking six to 10 cups of green tea a day can help combat this decline.

Gozal stressed that the study suggests green tea should be an "adjunct" therapy in humans suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, not a main treatment.

"If you have sleep apnea, use your (breathing) machine while you are sleeping," Gozal wrote in an e-mail. "However, if you also drink green tea, this may help you feel better."

The research appears in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a publication of the American Thoracic Society.

There has been considerable research on green tea in recent years, with studies suggesting it might help prevent everything from heart disease to high cholesterol. Other studies have looked at the effects of green tea in slowing the effects of age-related memory decline, such as Alzheimer's.

In the apnea study, Gozal and colleagues divided 106 male rats into two groups, which were then subjected to intermittent oxygen depletion during a 12-hour cycle for 14 days. One group received drinking water treated with green tea polyphenols; the other plain drinking water.

The rats were then tested for inflammation and oxygen deprivation, as well as for performance in spatial learning and memory tasks. Specifically, the rats had to navigate a water "maze" that required them to memorize the location of a hidden platform.

Researchers found that rats that drank the green tea-infused water performed significantly better than the rats that got plain water.

Carol Ash, a sleep disorders specialist affiliated with Somerset Medical Center, said she has had many patients with obstructive sleep apnea who struggle with memory and concentration.

Because sleep apnea is "an excellent example of oxidative stress," Ash said it makes sense that the antioxidant properties of green tea might prove beneficial.

One of her patients, Jo-Ann Ferri, 52, of Middlesex Borough, said she would be willing to try it, recalling her own problems with memory.

"I would forget people's names and I would see these people everyday," said Ferri, an auditor for a pharmaceutical company who now uses a machine to help aid her breathing at night.

While she only "occasionally" drinks green tea, Ferri said she plans to increase her consumption.

"I would love not to use this machine," she said.

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