Humble cups of green tea could offer new hope in the fight against stroke-related death and injury.
Strokes are the third greatest cause of death in New Zealand and the leading cause of major disability.
Existing drugs break down blood clots in the brain after strokes. Other drugs prevent further clots occurring after ischemic strokes, the most common form, in which brain cells are temporarily deprived of oxygen.
But although international drug companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on research, there are still no clinically proven treatments which can prevent a secondary wave of brain damage after the initial stroke, unless treatment is given almost immediately, scientists say.
Ironically, ordinary green tea, which hundreds of millions of people throughout Asia drink every day, could provide the key to a more successful post-stroke neuroprotective therapy than all of the costly man-made drugs considered so far.
Dr Ian Appleton, a senior lecturer in the University of Otago pharmacology department, said research he was leading had begun to highlight the neuroprotective effects of catechins, key biologically active compounds in green tea, in the aftermath of strokes.
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(Otago Daily Times, New Zealand)