Alzheimer's disease, an umbrella of brain dementia illnesses, and the sixth most frequent cause of death in the U.S., may soon become much less common. For many years, scientists have recognized that plaques formed in the brain cause the malfunctions typical of dementia. Fighting plaque buildup, breaking down existing plaque and building new neurons for healthier brains have been the goals of scientific research. One of the most vital discoveries in this research has been that flavonoids in green tea, particularly EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, can bind to beta-amyloid proteins and prevent plaque formations, and ultimately, it may prevent Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Now, through MRI technology, (magnetic resonance imaging) scientists have seen confirmation that EGCG works on human brains. Previously, studies were conducted on mice or rats. The University of Basel in Switzerland used MRI technology for a study published in the March 2014 issue of Psychopharmacology. University Hospital of Basel and the Psychiatric University Clinics studied twelve healthy male volunteers who received a soft drink containing several grams of green tea extract before they solved working memory tasks. Each was then given either a milk whey-based soft drink containing 27.5g of green tea extract or a milk whey-based soft drink without green tea extract. In those who had received green tea extract, the researchers observed increased activity in the dorsolateral pre-fontal cortex, which is an area of the brain responsible for processing working memory. They also noted a dose-response — -an even greater increase in brain activity at the higher dosage of green tea, which backs up the cause and effect relationship. The conclusion was that "green tea extract enhances functional connectivity." The Swiss study was also cited in the August 2014 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition which applauded the use of a double blinded, placebo-controlled study. In another study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a team of British researchers at the University of Leeds found that bioflavonoids prevented the plaques from sticking to nerve cells in the brain. Their study used green tea extract and resveratrol, an extract from red wine. MORE GOOD NEWS FOR GREEN TEA A February 20, 2013 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences posited that ECGC may prevent "misfolding" of certain proteins found in the brain. The report's author, Chinese scientist, Mi Hee Lim, stated that, "This is the first example of structure-centric, multidisciplinary investigations with three different areas of expertise: chemists, biochemists and biophysicists. Dr. Lim's team, researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, believe that ECGC may lead them to a wider interpretation of how plaque forms in the brain and how it can be prevented. EGCG prevented aggregate formation and broke down existing aggregate structures in the proteins that contained metals — specifically copper, iron and zinc. The aggregation of these proteins, called metal-associated amyloids, is associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. She will collaborate with a neurobiologist at LSI, Bing Ye, and test the EGCG's power to inhibit toxicity of aggregates containing proteins and metals. The team's next step is to "tweak" the molecule and then test the theory on plaque formation in fruit flies. OTHER BENEFITS OF GREEN TEA IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S Hundreds of studies with green teas have been conducted in Europe, China and Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. over the last 20 years. Among the published conclusions are that the antioxidants in green tea * Prevent formation of amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease * Break down existing amyloid plaques by disrupting early-stage and late-stage aggregation processes * Promote the production of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the adult hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for converting memories from short-term to long-term * Lessen cognitive impairments induced by psychological stress * Reduce neurodegeneration * Exhibit dramatic iron-chelating, free-radical-scavenging, and anti-inflammatory activities in models of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease * Enhance gene modulating and cell-signaling activities,increasingly detoxifying enzymes and antioxidant enzymes, and protecting DNA against oxidative damage * Inhibit the formation of amyloid-beta fibrils, or fine fibers implicated in neuron death and Alzheimer's-related cognitive symptoms * Interfere with pathways involved in the binding of copper and zinc to amyloid-beta fragments, thus preventing the formation of larger, stable amyloid plaques by transforming amyloid fibrils into shapes that are stable and not toxic to cells While taste preferences vary, we suggest plain, unflavored green teas prepared from loose-leaf tea selections. Remember, prepare green teas with cooler-than-boiling water, and steep briefly, from 30 seconds to two minutes, according to your taste. One or two small cups a day of the highest-quality tea is preferable and Adagio has a wide variety to choose from, including among others: Japanese sencha, matcha, or gyokuro; Chinese Anhui emerald seed, dragonwell, or pi lo chun. Sampler sets are also available here and here. Black teas are beneficial, too. However, green teas have 30-40% of polyphenols/antioxidants, including ECGC, compared to the 3-10% found in black teas.