Exposure to toxins on top of genetic predisposition is thought to be one of the factors involved in instigating autistic behavior. Treating animals with drugs/toxins such as valproate produces autistic behavior in the animals and is used as a model to study effect of therapies with potential for benefit in autism.
Green tea is rich in polyphneols especially flavonoids. These chemicals have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. They can easily cross from blood in to the brain and help with electro-biochemical messaging between brain cells and prevent brain cell death.
Autism-Green Tea Study
- Autistic behavior in mice was induced by valproate (antiepileptic drug).
- Green tea extract was administered to the experimental group of mice.
Dose of Green Tea used in the study
Two doses of green tea extract were used in the study: low dose of 75mg/kg and high dose of300 mg/kg.
Results of Autism-Green Tea Study
- Geotaxis measures ability to navigate in inclined setting. Visual, sensory and touch senses and reflexes need to be coordinated for successful navigation. Valproate treatment caused an increase in re-orientation time in mice. Green tea administration resulted in significant improvement in geotaxis in these mice.
- Valproate treatment resulted in reduced mid-air righting (muscle coordination) as measured by mid-air righting. This decline was suppressed in green tea treated mice as compared to controls.
- Valproate treated mice showed greater muscular and movement clumsiness and this was attenuated by green tea therapy.
- While valproate increased the time to paw lag on a hot plate as a measure of heat pain perception. High doses of green resulted in improvement of time to paw lag.
- Green tea resulted the reduction of valproate induced hyperactivity in animals.
- Open field test was conducted to measure the exploration activity in animals. Exploratory activity decline as a result of valproate in animals. This was improved by green tea therapy.
- Elevated maze test was done to examine effect on high anxiety levels and fear which is seen in autism.. Valproate treated mice pups spent less time in open arms of elevated plus maze. Green tea administration showed that the treatment helps suppress anxiety and fear on this test.
- Green tea treatment benefited the spatial learning and memory decline induced by valproate.
- The healthy electro-chemical messaging circuits in brain depend in part on purkinje cells. On autopsy, the brains of the valproate treated animals showed damage purkinje cell layer whereas this was found to be healthy in green tea treated mice.
Results in nutshell
Green tea protects against brain damage of autism and helps ameliorate many of the behavioral manifestations like muscle dis-coordination, fear, anxiety, hyperactivity and cognitive dysfunction.
Conclusions of Autism-Green Tea Study
Use of green tea is an effective treatment autistic behavior in experimentally induced autism in mice. The mechanism is believed to be strong anti-oxidant properties of the many constituents in green tea.
Dr. Minocha's comments
While it is always prudent to exercise caution in leaping from results in animals to their application in humans, there certainly is biological plausibility for beneficial effects of green tea on brain health. Green tea may be an easy, low risk nutritional component of holistic treatment of autism. As always talk to your doctor first.
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