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Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which results in the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Currently there is no known cure for the disease.

Dr. Baolu Zhao, is author of an article, that investigates the effects of green tea polyphenols, a group of naturally occurring chemical substances found in plants that have antioxidant properties, that appears in the December 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Zhao and colleagues, examined the effects of green tea on Parkinson’s disease using an animal model of the disease. In previous research the authors found that green tea has a neuroprotective effect. The authors discovered that green tea polyphenols protect dopamine neurons and the protection increases with he amount of green tea consumed. Also, they found this protective effect is mediated by inhibition of the ROS-NO pathway, a pathway that may contribute to cell death in Parkinson’s disease.

“Many health related claims have been made for a wide variety of naturally-occurring substances and many of these claims, as in the case of St. John’s Wort and Ginko Biloba, have not held up in rigorous clinical studies. Thus, it is extremely important to identify the putative neuroprotective mechanisms in animal models…for Parkinson’s disease,” says John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System.