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Drinking Tea Regularly Boosts Brain Health, Says Study

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More than 50 percent of Americans drink tea every day. Iced tea is one of the most popular drinks in the U.S. Studies suggest that moderate daily consumption of tea has a variety of health benefits including mood improvement and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the National University of Singapore and collaborators from the University of Essex and the University of Cambridge suggests that drinking tea regularly improves brain health.

In the study, 36 adults aged 60 and above, were enrolled, and data on their health, lifestyle, and psychological well-being were collected. The elderly participants also had to undergo neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The study was carried out from 2015 to 2018.

Upon analyzing the neuroimaging data and cognitive performance results of the participants, the researchers found that those who consumed tea for at least 4 times a week for about 25 years had brain regions which were interconnected more efficiently and this was associated with healthy cognitive function compared to non-tea drinkers.

It was also found that the interregional connectivity within the default mode network (DMN) in the brain was higher among the tea drinkers.

DMN refers to certain brain areas that are most active when the brain is at rest. The interregional connectivity within the default mode network (DMN) is involved in cognitive disease and normal aging. Previous studies have shown that aging and neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's can disrupt the DMN.

Commenting on the findings, the lead author of the study, Feng Lei, who is from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said, "Take the analogy of road traffic as an example - consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads. When a road system is better organized, the movement of vehicles and passengers is more efficient and uses less resources. Similarly, when the connections between brain regions are more structured, information processing can be performed more efficiently."

The findings were published in the scientific journal Aging.

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