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A Healthier Way To Fight Alzheimer's: Drinking Tea

British researchers have discovered drinking cups of green and black tea regularly could improve one's memory and may be a new weapon in fighting the spread of Alzheimer's disease. Green and black tea inhibited the activity of key enzymes in the brain associated with memory, essentially the same effect as drugs designed to combat Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease is associated with a reduced level of a chemical called acetylcholine in the brain. Scientists found both green and black tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine. The teas also obstructed the activity of a second enzyme butyrylcholinesterase, which has been discovered in protein deposits found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Green tea was also found to block the activity of beta-secretase, which plays a role in the production of protein deposits in the brain which are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

One caveat: Black tea's enzyme-inhibiting properties lasted only one day while the protective effects of green tea continued for a week.

This announcement is the second round of good news about the medicinal properties of black and green tea in recent months as both were found to slow the progress of prostate cancer.

BBC News October 26, 2004

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