and led by Stefan Borgwardt, MD, PhD, has now shown that drinking a green tea extract can enhance memory performance. This may have important practical applications for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
This study is unique because it is the “first evidence for the putative beneficial effect of green tea on cognitive functioning, in particular, on working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short – term plasticity of the parietal – frontal brain connections”, as stated by the authors.
The special thing about this study is that they used Functional MRI (fMRI), to actually view the subjects brains functioning when they were given green tea in different concentrations or a placebo. The subjects in this study were 12 healthy male students in their early 20’s. The researchers were so careful to avoid any placebo effect, that they did not let the 12 students in the study even drink the green tea drink! They were required to to swallow a feeding tube and given the drink through the tube so that they could not taste it!
Functional MRI scanning allowed the researchers to actually watch the brain working after each of the students “drank” their drink and then did the tasks that they were asked to do while in the fMRI machine. The researchers specifically noticed that there was an increase in connectivity between the parietal lobe of the brain and the frontal lobe of the brain, which went along with the improvement in the performance of tasks that the students were given while they were in the MRI machine.
To me, this is extremely exciting research!
With the new technologies including functional MRI, scientists are now able to prove in very objective ways much of the traditional “folklore” that has been handed down regarding nutritional supplements. This is the gateway to the future of healthcare, where we can individualize treatment for each patient according to their needs.
Certainly, if you have older friends or family who are complaining of memory issues, you can recommend them to have some green tea to help!
Let me know your thoughts!
Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing