A recent study by researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that regular tea drinkers have better organized brain regions associated with healthy cognitive function compared to non-tea drinkers.
The results of this study offer the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea consumption to brain structure and suggest that regular tea consumption has a protective effect against age-related brain decline.
The research was carried out with collaborators from the University of Essex and the University of Cambridge. The results were published in the scientific journal Aging.
Tea: brain regions better connected to each other
Previous studies had already shown that drinking tea was beneficial to human health and its positive effects included improving mood, preventing cardiovascular disease and halving the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly.
For this new study exploring in more detail the direct effect of tea on brain networks, the research team recruited 36 adults aged 60 and over and collected data on their health, lifestyle and well-being. – to be psychological. Elderly participants also had to undergo neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The study was carried out from 2015 to 2018.
After analyzing participants’ cognitive performance and imagery results, the research team found that people who consumed green tea, oolong tea, or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had more efficiently interconnected brain regions.
Neural connections: like a road map
The results of the study can be understood with a simple image. Take the example of road traffic: think of brain regions as destinations, while connections between brain regions are roads.
When a road system is better organized, the movement of vehicles and passengers is more efficient and uses fewer resources. Likewise, when the connections between brain regions are more structured, information processing can be performed more efficiently.
In previous studies, tea drinkers have been shown to have better cognitive function compared to non-tea drinkers. The current findings regarding the brain network indirectly corroborate earlier findings by showing that the positive effects of regular tea consumption are: a result of improved brain organization resulting from the prevention of disruption of interregional connections .
Cognitive performance, memory, the more connection, the better
Since cognitive performance and brain organization are intimately linked, further research is needed to better understand how functions such as memory emerge from brain circuits, as well as possible interventions to better preserve cognition during the aging process. . Professor Feng and his team intend to examine the effects of tea as well as the bioactive compounds found in tea on cognitive decline.
Junhua Li et al. Habitual tea drinking modulates brain efficiency: evidence from brain connectivity evaluation, Aging (2019). DOI: 10.18632/aging.102023