Green Tea Extract and Exercise Hinder Progress of Alzheimer's Disease in Mice
Scientists are seeking therapies in common foods that will help stave off the disease or prevent it completely. Now, researchers have determined that a compound found in green tea, and voluntary exercise, slows the progression of the disease in mice and may reverse its effects.
Further study of the commonly found extract could lead to advancements in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. “In Alzheimer’s patients, amyloid-beta peptide (A-beta) can accumulate and clump together causing amyloid plaques in the brain,” said Todd Schachtman, professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU.
“Symptoms can include increased memory loss and confusion, agitation and a lack of concern for your environment and surroundings. We looked at ways of preventing or postponing the onset of the disease which we hope can eventually lead to an improvement of health status and quality of life for the elderly.”
Increases in inflammation have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease patients and recent studies have suggested the benefits of dietary antioxidants in reducing the risk of AD. Based on previous research conducted at Mizzou, researchers decided to investigate the effects of voluntary exercise and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a green tea extract, on memory function and A-beta levels in mice known to show plaque deposits and behavior deficits.
“Oral administration of the extract, as well as voluntary exercise, improved some of the behavioral manifestations and cognitive impairments of Alzheimer’s,” said Sun, who also serves as the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Program at MU funded by the National Institutes of Health. “We also are excited to see a decrease in A-beta levels in the brains of the affected mice as well as improvements in behavior deficits in mice with AD.”