W Whether hot, cold, sweet or bitter – tea is a ubiquitous beverage worldwide that has also prevailed against the recent uprising of coffee culture. And now a comprehensive brain study has found that long-term tea drinkers may also extract additional cognitive benefit from the drink.
The study published in June in the journal Aging describes the results of a study conducted between a group of non-tea drinkers and a group of tea drinkers. Based on the global and regional structure and functionality of the participants' brains, researchers noted a number of noticeable differences. These included a more efficient functional and structural linkage of the regions to tea drinkers and a lower asymmetry of the structural links between the hemispheres, which the authors believe both reflect a younger cognitive age and a possible slowing of the cognitive decline.
The authors recruited participants of approximately the same age and educational background who either demonstrated strong evidence of consistent tea drinking or strong evidence of abstention. On average, participants were in their early 70s and both groups had significantly more female participants than male ones. To determine exactly how much of a tea drinker each participant was, they reported themselves on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being "Never or Rarely" and 6 being "Bigger or equaling 3 times a day". "And for the purposes of the study," tea "means green tea, oolong tea or black tea – not herbal tea.
Overall, the authors write that these limitations gave them a relatively small sample size: 15 tea drinkers and 21 non-tea drinkers However, they note that this sample was still larger than previous studies that looked at similar metrics.
Concerning the study, both so-called efficiency and brain symmetry of tea drinkers indicate a slower cognitive decline the researchers say.
The authors say that "efficiency" refers to a simpler and faster communication of information between brain regions, which essentially leads to a faster brain.In terms of symmetry, non-tea drinkers showed an asymmetry The brain connectivity to the left and fell into a structural pattern, rather with an aging brain in combination is brought. Tea drinkers, on the other hand, showed more symmetry in their connections, which is closer to the connectivity of a middle-aged brain, according to the researchers.
"Taken together, previous studies have suggested a U-shaped course of hemispheric asymmetry … over the entire lifespan from childhood to middle to old age," the authors write. "Overall, suppression of left asymmetry in structural connectivity suggests that tea intake may slow down age-related changes toward left asymmetry and maintain a pattern more similar to that of the Middle Ages." Increasing efficiency in both structural and functional connectivity. This did not necessarily lead to an overall improved functional connectivity between the two hemispheres. The authors write that these results may suggest that structural systems are easier to modify.
"Taken together, these results allow speculation that structural global metrics are more sensitive to subtle changes in the brain than functional global metrics in terms of overall network scale connectivity," they write.
What this means for us, the researchers write that it could be a great way to benefit not only from previously reported health benefits such as cardiovascular and mood benefits, but also to possibly slowing down age-related cognitive decline.
Abstract: The majority of tea studies relied on neuropsychological measures and much less on imaging, especially for interregional connections. So far, the effect of tea on system-level brain networks has not been studied. We recruited healthy older participants into two groups according to their current incidence of drinking tea and studied both functional and structural networks to uncover the role of tea drinking in brain organization. The results showed that drinking tea resulted in more efficient structural organization, but had no significant positive impact on global functional organization. The suppression of hemispheric asymmetry in the structural connectivity network was observed as a result of tea drinking. We have not observed any significant effects of tea drinking on the hemispheric asymmetry of the functional connectivity network. In addition, the functional connectivity strength within the standard mode network (DMN) was greater for the tea-drinking group, and a coexistence of increasing and decreasing connectivity strengths was observed in the structural connectivity of the DMN. Our study provides initial indications of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggests a protective effect on the age-related decline in brain organization.