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Drinking Green Tea May Make You Smarter

Update Date: Apr 07, 2014 08:06 PM EDT

Drinking green tea may do more than boost physical health. New research reveals that the Asian beverage also enhances cognition.

Swiss researchers at the University of Basel found that the drink particularly enhances working memory.  Researchers said that latest finding may provide insight into clinical implications for treating cognitive disorders like dementia.

Previous studies have found evidence that green tea boosts cognitive performance in various ways. However, the mechanism underlying this effect of green tea is unclear.

The latest study which involved the researcher teams of Prof. Christoph Beglinger from the University Hospital of Basel and Prof. Stefan Borgwardt from the Psychiatric University Clinics, revealed that green tea extract increases the brain's effective connectivity, which is the causal influence that one brain area exerts over another.

Researchers explained that this improvement in connectivity led to better actual cognitive performance. Researchers explained that participants given green tea extract performed significantly better in working memory tasks compared to when they were administered a placebo.

For the study, researchers had healthy male volunteers drink a soft drink that contained several grams of green tea extract before they solved working memory tasks.

Researchers then had the men undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and analyzed how the beverage affected participants' brain activity. The study revealed that drinking green tea extract enhanced connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain. Researchers said the latest findings suggest that drinking green tea may boost performance in cognitive tasks.

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

The findings are published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

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