Green tea may help improve cognitive ability in people with Down syndrome

Scientists discovered that a chemical found in green tea may help improve the quality of life of people with Down syndrome
A year-long clinical trial showed that those who received the treatment improved their cognitive abilities
The positive impact of the treatment remained six months after the trial ended


Scientists have found that a chemical present in green tea may help improve cognitive ability in people with Down syndrome. According to Down Syndrome Education Online, delay in the development of cognitive capacities is a primary consequence of Down syndrome. Cognitive ability involves mental activities such as thinking, understanding, learning and remembering.

Researchers from CSG and Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Spain said that the chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in green tea may help improve cognitive ability in persons with the genetic disorder also known as trisomy 21.

A year-long clinical trial was conducted to study the effects of the chemical compound on 84 persons with the disorder aged 16 to 34. They were split in two groups. One group was given decaffeinated green tea supplement containing 45 percent of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The other group received a lookalike placebo. Both groups were given weekly sessions of online cognitive training.

Rafael de la Torre from IMIM said “the results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better score in their cognitive capacities.”

The positive impact of the treatment remained six months after the trial ended.

Mara Dierssen from Center for Genomic Regulation in Spain said this is the first time that a treatment has shown some efficacy in the improvement of some cognitive tasks in individuals with Down syndrome.

However, she clarified that their discovery is not a cure for the genetic disorder, but may help in improving the quality of life of persons with the syndrome.

“It must be made clear that our discovery is not a cure for Down’s syndrome and that our results have to be proven in larger populations, but it may be a treatment to improve these individuals’ quality of life,” she said.

The result of the study was published in the journal The Lancet Neurology.
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