Monday, September 23, 2013

Cup of tea boosts brain cells?

The report below is rather mad in a couple of ways.  For a start, the journal article concerned  -- by Giesbrecht et al. is from nearly 3 years back.  Secondly, the researchers administered L-theanine  and caffeine together.  How do they know that it was not caffeine alone which produced the effects?  All the effects reported would be normal for caffeine

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 reduce 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'.


Ditch the diet! Why carrying a few extra pounds can actually make you live longer

As middle-age approaches, the health risks of being overweight are well-documented.

But a new study has found that those who are classed as 'overweight' in their 50s yet kept this stable, were in the group most likely to survive the next 16 years.

It appears that weight retention is key - this group were deemed to be better off than a normal-wight individual who added weight but kept within their range.

The study, conducted by Ohio State University, did back up the prominent belief that those most at danger are the obese, who continue to pile on the pounds.

The weight categories were set by using people's BMI Index - their height-to-weight ratio that can identify body fat.

Almost 10,000 people were interviewed every two years from 1992 until 2009, with their BMIs recorded, and it concluded that 7.2 per cent of deaths after the age of 51 are due to weight gain among obese people.

In a release from the Ohio State University, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology Hui Zheng said: 'You can learn more about older people’s mortality risk by looking at how their weight is changing than you can by just looking at how much they weigh at any one time.'

Those involved in the study were classified into six different groups, depending on their BMI at the beginning of the study and how it changed over the 16-year period they were surveyed.

While slightly overweight people (BMI of 25 to 29.9) whose weight was steady had the highest survival rate, those who moved from overweight to obese (BMI 30 to 34.9) were close behind.

'This suggests that among overweight people at age 51, small weight gains do not significantly lower the probability of survival,' Zheng added.

Third were normal-weight individuals who add gradual mass, followed in fourth by Class I obese people whose weight was on the rise.

Next to last were those of normal weight who were reducing in size, followed by the most susceptible group who were the most obese, BMI of 35 and over.

So carrying a few extra pounds as we hit the big 5-0 is not such a worry after all.

'It is probably because the older population is more likely to get illnesses and disease, especially cancer, that cause dangerous weight loss,' Zheng added, explaining why being slightly overweight might not be so bad.

'In that case, a small amount of extra weight may provide protection against nutritional and energy deficiencies, metabolic stresses, the development of wasting and frailty, and loss of muscle and bone density caused by chronic diseases.'


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