Green tea compound can help treat Down syndrome


A compound found in green tea has shown promise for the treatment of Down syndrome, according to a new study.

A green tea compound called Epigallocatechin Gallate could benefit cognitive functioning for people with Down syndrome.

Study co-leader Dr Mara Dierssen, of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues reveal how the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) improved the cognitive function of individuals with the condition.

According to the researchers, their study represents the first time a treatment has shown some improvement in cognitive skills for people with Down syndrome.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, around 1 in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, and there are more than 400,000 Americans living with the condition.

Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition in the US, occurring when an individual has a partial or full additional copy of chromosome 21, meaning they have three copies of this chromosome, rather than the normal two.

This extra chromosome leads to over expression of genes, which can cause a number of physical symptoms, including reduced muscle tone, a small head, ears, and mouth, a flattened facial profile, and upward-slanting eyes.

Individuals with Down syndrome may also experience problems with cognitive function, such as delayed language and speech development, learning and memory impairments, and poor concentration.

According to Dr Dierssen and colleagues, research has shown that such cognitive impairments are down to over expression of a gene called DYRK1A, and studies in mice have suggested the compound EGCG could reduce DYRK1A over expression.

Now, the new study indicates that the compound could do the same for people with Down syndrome, achieving an improvement in cognitive function. Meanwhile a new research into anxiety disorders has reported that women and adults under the age of 35 are more likely to experience anxiety than other groups.

The researchers found that women, young adults, and people with other medical conditions were most at risk for anxiety disorders.

In particular, the researchers state that women are almost twice as likely to be affected as men. This difference did not change over time.

The aim of the review was to understand the prevalence of anxiety disorders in both the general public as well as among specific groups of people.

“Anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult for some people and it is important for our health services to understand how common they are and which groups of people are at greatest risk,” explains first author Olivia Remes, of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental disorders present in the general population. Examples of anxiety disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety disorder.

The CDC estimates that the lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders is more than 15 percent.

Typical symptoms of anxiety disorders include increased worrying, tension, tiredness, and fear. These symptoms can prevent people from keeping to their everyday routines. The study authors report that the annual cost of these disorders to the United States is estimated to be $42.3 billion.

Many more scientific reviews have examined the effects of depression than the effects of anxiety, despite this impact on society. The new review, published in Brain and Behaviour, aims to shed further light on this area of research.

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