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日本研究:绿茶健脑

2006-02-28 00:00王高山,CRI

People who regularly drink green tea may have a lesser risk of mental decline as they grow older, researchers have found.

Their study, of more than 1,000 Japanese adults in their 70s and beyond, found that the more green tea men and women drank, the lower their odds of having cognitive impairment.

The findings build on evidence from lab experiments showing that certain compounds in green tea may protect brain cells from the damaging processes that mark conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

But while those studies were carried out in animals and test tubes, the new research appears to be the first to find a lower risk of mental decline among green-tea drinkers, according to the study authors.

They speculate that the possible protective effects of green tea may help explain Japan's lower rate of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease, compared with Europe and North America.

Dr. Shinichi Kuriyama and colleagues at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine report the findings in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study included 1,003 adults age 70 and older who completed detailed questionnaires on their diets over the previous month, as well as their overall physical health and lifestyle habits. They also completed a standard test of cognitive functions such as memory, attention and language use.

The researchers found that older adults who drank two or more cups of green tea per day were about half as likely to show cognitive impairment as those who drank three cups or less each week. Men and women who averaged one cup per day fell somewhere in between.

The connection between green tea and mental function persisted when the researchers accounted for overall diet and factors such as smoking and exercise habits.

However, the findings cannot demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was observational, not a controlled experiment, and there may be something about green-tea drinkers that explains the link between the beverage and sharper mental function, Kuriyama told Reuters Health.

For example, healthier, more active individuals may simply drink more green tea -- which, in Japan, is often consumed in social settings.

"We think that the potential protective effects of green tea should be confirmed in further studies," Kuriyama said.

Given the high prevalence and heavy burden of dementia, the researchers conclude, any benefit of drinking green tea could have a "considerable" public health impact.


日本研究人员日前发现,那些经常饮用绿茶的人和不饮绿茶的人相比,前者在上了年纪以后,更不容易出现智力下降等脑部问题。

据路透社2月24日报道,此项研究是由日本东北大学的Shinichi Kuriyama博士和其同事共同完成的。研究共涉及1003名70多岁或者更为年长的日本成年人。这些参与调查者都填写了非常详细的调查问卷表,问卷中涉及他们的饮食习惯、身体情况以及生活方式等众多问题。另外,他们还接受了有关认知功能(如记忆力、注意力和语言表达能力等)的标准测试。

研究人员发现,人们越是经常饮用绿茶,那么他们出现认知损伤的几率就越小。在这些参与调查的老年人当中,每天饮用两杯或两杯以上绿茶的人和那些每星期只饮3杯绿茶或更少的人相比,前者出现认知损伤的危险只有后者的一半。

报道说,日本研究人员的这些发现是以相应的实验室研究为基础的。实验室实验曾显示,绿茶中含有的某些成分可能会对脑细胞起到保护作用,让它们免受损伤。而脑损伤则会导致早老性痴呆及帕金森氏症等疾病。

研究人员对此表示,虽然此前人们已在动物身上和实验室中完成了一些相应的研究,但这项最新研究应是人们首次明确发现,在饮用绿茶的人当中,智力下降这一脑部问题出现的几率较小。研究人员还就此推测说,绿茶的这种保护作用或许可以用来解释,为什么与欧洲和北美地区相比,日本的痴呆症患者,尤其是早老性痴呆症患者的人数比率相对较低。

报道说,这项研究的具体成果被发表在了新一期的《美国临床营养学杂志》上。

相关热词:bilingual study science tea brain
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