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Green tea boosts memory and learning.

It long has been believed that drinking green tea is good for the memory. Now researchers have discovered how the chemical properties of China's favorite drink affect the generation of brain cells, providing benefits for memory and spatial learning.

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"Green tea is a popular beverage across the world," notes professor Yun Bai from the Third Military Medical University, Chongquing, China. "There has been plenty of specific attention on its use in helping prevent cardiovascular diseases, but now there is emerging evidence that its chemical properties may impact cellular mechanisms in the brain."

Bai's team--which published its findings in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research--focused on the organic chemical EGCG, (epigallocatechin-3 gallate) a key property of green tea. While EGCG is a known antioxidant, the team believes it also can have a beneficial effect against age-related degenerative diseases.

"We proposed that EGCG can improve cognitive function by impacting the generation of neuron cells, a process known as neurogenesis," explains Bai. "We focused our research on the hippocampus, the part of the brain which processes information from short-term to long-term memory."

The team found that EGCG boosts the production of neural progenitor cells, which, like stem cells, can adapt or differentiate into various types of cells. The results reveal that EGCG enhances learning and memory by improving object recognition and spatial memory.

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Title Annotation:Neurology
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Oct 1, 2012
Words:220
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