New Study Reveals That Tea May Help Prevent Dementia

Patients and staff in home care and respite care often know all too well the difficulties that dementia can cause. Home care and respite care services provide numerous techniques to help those with the condition, but a simple new technique may help older people from developing dementia altogether. Drinking tea.

A new study conducted by the National University of Singapore suggests that drinking tea can help reduce the risk of dementia occurring in those aged 55 and older. The study revealed that drinking teas such as black, green and oolong reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older people by 50%.

The study also claims that tea drinking can also greatly benefit those who are more likely to suffer from dementia due to their genetic makeup. For individuals who carry the APOE e4 gene, a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease, drinking tea may reduce the risk by up to 86%.

Why Tea?

Tea contains many compounds, including catechins and theaflavins. These compounds are often claimed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Dr Feng Lei, one of the doctors from the National University of Singapore that worked on the study, says these compounds may also help protect the brain from neurodegeneration and vascular damage.

“Despite high-quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory,” he said.

“Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life.”

How the study was conducted

The study was conducted over a 12-year period, in which 957 adults over the age of 55 were assessed on their tea consumption of either black, green or oolong tea.

Over this 12-year period, participants were tested on their cognitive function using various professional standardised tools every two years to analyse any changes that occurred throughout the study.

Information about the participant’s lifestyles, medical conditions and physical activities were also taken into consideration during the study, and the findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition, the first scientific journal dedicated to nutrition research.

Further research still needed

But Dr Feng Lei stresses that despite the study’s results, much more research into the field is needed before any conclusive findings can be made.

However, the study is not the first to praise the potential benefits of tea on combating dementia. Scientists at Britain’s University of Leeds discovered that tea may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients.

Alzheimer’s involves the death of brain cells, which occurs when harmful proteins attach to the nerves in the brain cells, causing them to die. The scientists claim that drinking tea, specifically green tea, can potentially disrupt these harmful proteins from forming.

But Dr Feng Lei stresses that despite his own study’s results back at the National University of Singapore, further research into the field is still needed before any conclusive findings can be made.

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