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New Studies of Tea as Alzheimer's Preventative


Sherlock Tea Pot

(English Tea Pot above with a Sherlock Holmes emblem on the side!)



USA TODAY for July 12, 2010 reports on studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Honolulu.

In a study by UCLA of “more than 4800 men and women ages 65 and older, participants were followed for up to 14 years. Tea drinkers had less mental decline than non tea drinkers. Those who drank tea one to four times a week had an average annual rate of decline 37% lower than people who didn’t drink tea. Coffee didn’t show any influence except at the highest levels of consumption...the observed associations are unlikely to be related to caffeine, which is present in coffee at levels two to three times higher than in tea.”

Alzheimer's Association Report on 2010 International Conference:

"The researchers found that people who consumed tea at a variety of levels had significantly less cognitive decline (17-37 percent) than non-tea drinkers. More specifically, study participants who drank tea 5-10 times/year, 1-3 times/month, 1-4 times/week, and 5+ times/week had average annual rates of decline 17 percent, 32 percent, 37 percent, and 26 percent lower, respectively, than non-tea drinkers.

According to the scientists, coffee consumption did not show any effect except at the very highest level of consumption – where it was associated with significantly decreased decline of 20 percent.

"The suggestion of a positive effect of tea consumption in slowing cognitive decline requires further investigation," Arab said. "Interestingly, the observed associations are unlikely to be related to caffeine, which is present in coffee at levels 2-3 times higher than in tea."

LONDON (AFP)  2004 – “True Health” - A nice cup of tea could hold back Alzheimer's, scientists say. A steaming cup of tea, the relaxing drink of choice for millions in countries such as Britain and China, could help ward off the effects of Alzheimer's disease, scientists said.

Laboratory tests found that regular cups of green and black tea inhibit the activity of certain enzymes in the brain which bring on Alzheimer's, a form of generative dementia that affects an estimated 10 million people worldwide. The research by the Medicinal Plant Research Centre at Newcastle University, northeast England, is published in academic journal Phytotherapy Research  (24 October 2004.)

"Scientists tested coffee as well as green and black tea, the latter of which -- the variety enjoyed by most Britons -- is derived from the same plant as the green variety but has a different taste and appearance as it is fermented. The results found that while coffee had no significant effect, both green and black tea inhibited the activity of enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer's"

"According to the journal, tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Alzheimer's is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine. Green tea and black tea also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), seen in protein deposits found on the brains of patients with Alzheimer'"s

"However green tea alone had a further effect, obstructing the activity of beta-secretase, which has a role in the production of protein deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer's. The effects of green tea also last for a week, scientists found, as against only a day for black tea."

"Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, tea could potentially be another weapon in the armoury which is used to treat this disease and slow down its development," said head researcher Dr Ed Okello. "It would be wonderful if our work could help improve the quality of life for millions of sufferers and their care givers."

    Editorial Note: I have noted (2010) that the very popular and public Dr. Oz has been recommending the addition of Green Tea to one's daily diet for health reasons!

While June was more into coffee (said to be Scandanavian gasoline!) then tea, she also enjoyed tea and loved the English tradition of afternoon "High Tea." June and I always found great enjoyement in participating in this wonderful English standard during our several visits to England on forensic science matters in the days before Alzheimer's took control of her and our life. We both especially loved the standard delicacies that always accompanied the tea. While although June and I both consumed tea and coffee over our lifetimes, June's drink of 1st choice was always coffee and mine was always tea.  What effect this choice has had on our respective overall lifetime health will really never be known.

(Photo Below is June having some English tea with Lynn Bruce in the Bruce Home at Bexley, Kent, UK -  September 1977.)

June and Lynn Bruce having Tea 1977

Editorial Note: (11 January 2012)  Because the US is a Coffee drinking country and the UK is a tea drinking country I thought it would be interesting  to check the Alzheimer's disease rates of the two countries compared to their populations...The US Census Bureaus International programs list the world populations for 2012...It shows the UK with 63 Million and the US with 313.8 million. According to the London Daily Mail article of 11 January 2012 it is estimated that the UK has 700,000 cases of Alzheimer's. According to the US Alzheimer's Association the US has 5.4 million cases. The rate calculated according to population and number of cases indicates the UK rate to be 1.11% and the US rate to be 1.72%...further calculated the UK rate is 64.5% of the US rate...that is almost exactly what the drinking tea advantage in the studies suggest...I say keep drinking tea!.