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Apr 07, 2014 02:23 PM EDT

Green Tea May Boost Cognitive Function

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Green tea may boost your brain power, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland found that green tea extract enhances the cognitive functions, in particular the working memory. They found that it increases the brain's effective connectivity.

Different studies were able to link green tea to beneficial effects on the cognitive performance. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this cognitive enhancing effect of green tea remained unknown.

 The recent findings show promising implications for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia, according to a press release.

"Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain," researcher Stefan Borgwardt said in a statement.

For the study, researchers recruited healthy male volunteers to try a soft drink containing several grams of green tea extract before they solved working memory tasks. They then analyzed how this affected the brain activity of the men using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The MRI showed increased connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain. These neuronal findings correlated positively with improvement in task performance of the participants

Researchers concluded that green tea extract increases the brain's effective connectivity. The extract's effect on brain connectivity also led to improvement in actual cognitive performance: Subjects tested significantly better for working memory tasks after the admission of green tea extract.

The findings, which were recently published in the journal Psychopharmacology, suggest promising clinical implications. Researchers said "modeling effective connectivity among frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing might help to assess the efficacy of green tea for the treatment of cognitive impairments in neuropsychiatric disorders such as dementia."

Green tea has also been credited with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and various types of cancer. 

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