Green Tea Compound Shows Promise in Down Syndrome

Green Tea Compound Shows Promise in Down SyndromeGreen Tea Compound Shows Promise in Down Syndrome

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

Study co-leader Dr. Mara Dierssen, of the Center 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 researchers, their study represents the first time a treatment has shown some improvement in cognitive skills for people with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome continues to be the most common chromosomal disorder 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.

The estimated incidence of the disorder is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. Each year approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder, according to the WHO.

This extra chromosome leads to overexpression 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, reported.

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

The new study indicates that the compound could do the same for people with Down syndrome, achieving an improvement in cognitive function.