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Green tea protects against Parkinson's disease

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Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found that a component in green tea may help protect against Parkinson's disease, a local news channel reported on Tuesday.

The researchers at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine identified an activation process involving a component in green tea and a protein in the human body that can provide cellular protection against the disease, Channel NewsAsia reported.

The green tea component, known as EGCG, is found to trigger AMP kinase, a protein in the body, to help prevent brain cells from dying under stress.

The EGCG is found in red wine, too.

The researchers experimented on engineered fruit flies which had developed Parkinson's and found that the EGCG-treated flies exhibit much better movement ability and show significant preservation of their brain neurons, compared to untreated flies.

The team hopes to partner with pharmaceutical companies to formulate a drug which can be administered to Parkinson's disease patients.

The potential medication would offer neuro-protection. Current treatment for Parkinson's is usually in the form of a drug known as L-DOPA, which only offers symptomatic therapy, said Lim Kah Leong, an associate professor from the school's department of physiology.

"There are benefits of drinking green tea but in this case we have something even more potent than drinking green tea. So hopefully medication centred around AMPK activation can provide real and faster benefit to Parkinson's patients than green tea could at that stage," he said.

(Xinhua, October 23, 2012)

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