Down Syndrome is caused by a genetic defect wherein a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosome. It is the most common form of genetic intellectual disability, affecting approximately one out of 691 people in the United States, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. All people with Down syndrome experience some cognitive delays, but the effect can vary.
Recently, researchers discovered that a certain compound could help improve the cognitive functioning of those with Down syndrome. That compound is a catechin known as Epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG, for short), found naturally, and abundantly, in tea.
The study these researchers published shows that, when paired with cognitive training for 12 months, groups that drank green tea showed significant “increased visual memory and improved adaptive behavior” as opposed to those who only received placebo.
Even more interesting, the researchers found that the increase cognitive functioning remained for six months after the tests were completed. Brain scans showed that the compound altered the ways neurons connected with one another. This improved connection between the nerve cells in the brain means there is improved communication between them.
This research was done with participants aging from 16 to 34, but they hope to be able to run trials on young children with Down syndrome, believing that the results “might even be better.”