Coffee may reverse Alzheimer’s disease

Caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, both in the brains and in the blood of mice exhibiting symptoms of the disease, revealed by researchers.

The new studies published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The studies were conducted by University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

“The new findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable ‘treatment’ for established Alzheimer’s disease, and not simply a protective strategy,” said lead author Gary Arendash, PhD, a USF neuroscientist with the Florida ADRC. “That’s important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process.”

Based on these promising findings in mice, researchers at the Florida ADRC and Byrd Alzheimer’s Center at USF hope to begin human trials to evaluate whether caffeine can benefit people with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease, said Huntington Potter, PhD, director of the Florida ADRC and an investigator for the caffeine studies. The research group has already determined that caffeine administered to elderly non-demented humans quickly affects their blood levels of ?-amyloid, just as it did in the Alzheimer’s mice.

“These are some of the most promising Alzheimer’s mouse experiments ever done showing that caffeine rapidly reduces beta amyloid protein in the blood, an effect that is mirrored in the brain, and this reduction is linked to cognitive benefit,” Potter said. “Our goal is to obtain the funding needed to translate the therapeutic discoveries in mice into well-designed clinical trials.”

Now, coffee drinkers may have another reason to pour that extra cup. Caffeine ? the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day ? may revesre the memory impairment and reduce Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

The researchers do not know if an amount lower than the 500 mg. daily caffeine intake received by the Alzheimer’s mice would be effective, Arendash said. For most individuals, however, this moderate level of caffeine intake poses no adverse health effects, according to both the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences. Nonetheless, Arendash said, individuals with high blood pressure or those who are pregnant should limit their daily caffeine intake.

Source: University of South Florida, USA

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