Credit: © Kittiphan / Fotolia

Credit: © Kittiphan / Fotolia

Green tea could help treat Down syndrome

Green tea could help treat Down syndrome

A compound found in green tea could help treat Down syndrome, according to a new study from researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. This genetic disorder, which varies in severity, causes lifelong intellectual disability and developmental delays, and in some people it causes health problems.

Down syndrome is the most common genetic chromosomal disorder and cause of learning disabilities in children.

According to study co-leader Dr. Mara Dierssen, cognitive impairments from Down syndrome are due to overexpression of a gene called DYRK1A. The new study suggests that EGCG, the compound found in green tea, could help reduce DYRK1A expression.

The study

The researchers explained the following findings in the study abstract:

The study was done between June 5, 2012, and June 6, 2014. 84 of 87 participants with Down’s syndrome were included in the intention-to-treat analysis at 12 months (43 in the EGCG and cognitive training group and 41 in the placebo and cognitive training group). Differences between the groups were not significant on 13 of 15 tests in the TESDAD battery and eight of nine adaptive skills in the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System II (ABAS-II).

At 12 months, participants treated with EGCG and cognitive training had significantly higher scores in visual recognition memory (Pattern Recognition Memory test immediate recall, adjusted mean difference: 6·23 percentage points [95% CI 0·31 to 12·14], p=0·039; d 0·4 [0·05 to 0·84]), inhibitory control (Cats and Dogs total score, adjusted mean difference: 0·48 [0·02 to 0·93], p=0·041; d 0·28 [0·19 to 0·74]; Cats and Dogs total response time, adjusted mean difference: −4·58 s [–8·54 to −0·62], p=0·024; d −0·27 [–0·72 to −0·20]), and adaptive behaviour (ABAS-II functional academics score, adjusted mean difference: 5·49 [2·13 to 8·86], p=0·002; d 0·39 [–0·06 to 0·84]). No differences were noted in adverse effects between the two treatment groups.

Study conclusion

The study authors concluded:

EGCG and cognitive training for 12 months was significantly more effective than placebo and cognitive training at improving visual recognition memory, inhibitory control, and adaptive behaviour. Phase 3 trials with a larger population of individuals with Down’s syndrome will be needed to assess and confirm the long-term efficacy of EGCG and cognitive training.”

The study showing that green tea could help treat Down syndrome was published in The Lancet Neurology.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Green Tea Compound Could Help Treat Down Syndrome.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 20 June 2016.
2. “Clinical Trial Opens New Avenues for Pharmacological Therapy in Down’s Syndrome.” Centre for Genomic Regulation. Centre for Genomic Regulation, n.d. Web. 20 June 2016.
3. “Safety and Efficacy of Cognitive Training plus Epigallocatechin-3-gallate in Young Adults with Down’s Syndrome (TESDAD): A Double-blind, Randomised, Placebo-controlled, Phase 2 Trial.” The Lancet Neurology. The Lancet, n.d. Web. 20 June 2016.
4. “Down Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 20 June 2016.

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