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Green tea may help protect against Parkinson's
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A new study has suggested that green tea may protect brain cells against Parkinson's disease.

Chinese researchers examined the effects of green tea polyphenols, a group of naturally occurring chemical substances found in plants that have antioxidant properties, in an animal model of Parkinson's disease.

Corresponding and senior author Dr. Baolu Zhao, of the Institute of Biophysics, Academia Sinica in Beijing said previous research has indicated that green tea possesses neuroprotective effects.

After investigating the animal model, Zhao and colleagues discovered that green tea polyphenols protect dopamine neurons and the effect increases with the amount consumed.

They also showed that this protective effect is mediated by inhibition of the ROS-NO pathway -- a pathway that may contribute to cell death in Parkinson's.

Zhao said he hoped eventually "green tea polyphenols may be developed into a safe and easily administrable drug for Parkinson's disease."

The findings are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells, and there is presently no cure.

(Agencies via China Daily December 24, 2007)

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