Health Watch Update: Caffeine and Alzheimer's
This entry was posted on July 20, 2009.
Last October, we wrote about a study that indicated caffeine intake could help prevent Alzheimer's because of its beneficial impact on the blood/brain barrier. Now, new evidence indicates that caffeine may not just protect against developing the disease, but it could also play a pretty serious role in reversing it!
Earlier this month, researchers released their findings that caffeine intake actually reduced the protein beta amyloid that, when found in sticky clumps referred to as senile plaque, is a sign of Alzheimer's disease. The study involved 55 genetically altered mice that exhibited memory loss at the mouse equivalent of a 70 year old human. They gave half the mice about five 8 ounce cups of regular coffee per day in their drinking water. The result was that the group drinking coffee recovered their mental faculties and their memories were as sharp as other older mice who did not exhibit dementia to begin with.
Obviously, we're not mice, so further research will need to be done on how this affects the disease in humans and whether or not suitable therapies can be developed to prevent and treat Alzheimer's. But it's very exciting, nonetheless, and gives us all the more reason to make another cup of coffee today. :)