Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tea gives your brain a lift and reduces tiredness

Since tea contains caffeine, which is a well-known stimulant, I am not at all clear on why this article had to be written

Natural ingredients found in a cup of tea can improve brain power and increase alertness, it is claimed. Researchers looked at the effect of key chemicals found in tea on the mental performance of 44 young volunteers.

The effects of these ingredients, an amino acid called L-theanine – which is also found in green tea – and caffeine at levels typically found in a cup of tea, were compared with a dummy treatment. The active ingredients significantly improved accuracy across a number of switching tasks for those who drank the tea after 20 and 70 minutes, compared with the placebo. The tea drinkers’ alertness was also heightened, the study found.

Tea was also found to reduced tiredness among the volunteers, who were aged under 40, according to the Dutch researchers reporting on their findings in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

‘The results suggest the combination helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task,’ they said. Previous trials have shown that adding milk to a cup of tea does not affect the drinker’s absorption of flavonoids – or antioxidants – or disrupt the health benefits from these.

Tea drinking has already been linked with lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s. Other research shows drinking tea on a regular basis for ten or more years may help improve bone density.

Dr Tim Bond, of the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel, said the latest findings backed a previous study which showed drinking two cups of black tea ‘improves the ability to react to stimuli and to focus attention on the task in hand’. ‘Taken together, these two studies provide evidence that consumption of black tea improves cognitive function, in particular helping to focus attention during the challenge of a demanding mental task,’ he said.

‘As a result, all this new data adds to the growing science that drinking tea, preferably four cups of tea a day, is good for our health and well being.’


Cannabis ingredient 'restores taste buds and lost pleasure in food to cancer patients'

It is well-known that pot gives users "the munchies" so this is not a big surprise. But the methodology below is best passed over in forgiving silence. I think the experimenters must be regular users

The ingredient that gives cannabis its 'high' can help cancer patients recover their sense of taste, researchers say.

A group of patients who had been treated with chemotherapy for advanced cancer were given capsules that either contained THC - the psychoactive chemical in cannabis - or dummy lookalike pills. The 21 volunteers took the tablets for 18 days and were then asked to fill in questionnaires.

Researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada, found 73 per cent of those who took THC reported an increased liking for food, compared to 30 per cent of the placebo group. Just over half of the THC takers said the medication 'made food taste better' compared to one in 10 of the control group.

While both groups consumed roughly the same amount of calories during the trial, the THC patients said they ate more protein and enjoyed savoury foods more. The THC-takers also reported better quality of sleep and relaxation than in the placebo group.

While the experiment is small scale it is the first to explore the touted qualities of THC through random selection of volunteers and use of a 'control' group by which to make a comparison.

Lead investigator Professor Wendy Wismer said the findings were important because cancer, or its treatment, can cripple appetite and lead to dangerous weight loss.

Many cancer patients eat less as they say meat smells and tastes unpleasant following treatment. 'For a long time, everyone has thought that nothing could be done about this,' Professor Wismer said. 'Indeed, cancer patients are often told to 'cope' with chemosensory problems by eating bland, cold and colourless food. This may well have the result of reducing food intake and food enjoyment.'

Professor Wismer said that doctors should consider THC treatment for cancer patients suffering from loss of taste, smell and appetite.

THC was well tolerated, and in terms of side effects there were no differences between the THC and placebo groups, which suggests that long-term therapy is also an option, she said.

Cannabis is a Class B drug in the UK and is illegal to have, give away or sell.

The study appears in the journal Annals of Oncology, published by the European Society for Medical Oncology.


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