University to study if ‘teh tarik’ is linked to dementia

teh-tarik-dimentiaPETALING JAYA: Students of Newcastle University are studying whether drinking too much of Malaysia’s most loved beverage could lead to dementia later in life.

According to Study International News, the university’s teams in the UK and Malaysia are embarking on a project that will investigate social, policy and service set-ups in Malaysia, Tanzania and India for people with dementia, a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Little is known of dementia, but memory loss is a common symptom. Alzheimer’s disease meanwhile is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-70% of cases, according to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) data. It affects 47 million people worldwide.

Speaking about the three countries picked for the study, Prof Roger Barton, CEO and provost of Newcastle’s Malaysian outpost, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) told the portal, “The group really wanted to get a global picture.”

The study, led by Prof Louise Robinson from Newcastle’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing, will also be a collaboration with government officials and other universities such as King’s College London, Monash University Malaysia and Universiti Malaya. Civil society groups from each country will also be consulted.

Although the results of the project won’t be seen until years, possibly decades later, it is much needed for several reasons, the portal said.

Malaysia has one of the highest rates of diabetes, smoking and obesity and a study such as this could provide answers as to how these conditions could be related to cognitive impairment especially when age is factored into the equation.

“With age being the biggest risk factor, Malaysia’s ageing population will likely see an increase in dementia, so it is important for us to understand it more and the issues that surround it,” the portal quoted Prof Barton as saying.

While awaiting the results of the long-term study, Prof Barton has this to say: “Remain physically active, don’t become overweight, don’t smoke and keep using your mind.”