A cup of coffee a day keeps Alzheimer’s away

5 04 2008

By Bianca Silva

scienceblogs.com (Picture found at www.scienceblogs.com)

Most people will remember their childhood days where their parents would force the famous old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” on them like a plate of soggy vegetables. However we now live in a world of multi-vitamins and constantly advancing medical technology, which has recently suggested something rather interesting. Say goodbye to apples and hello to coffee because, “a cup of coffee a day keeps Alzheimer’s disease away.”

Good news for journalists, doctors, directors and lawyers who all have reputations for supporting the coffee industry by consuming rather in-ordinate amounts of it.

The effects of high cholesterol has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease as a risk factor. In a world where McDonalds, Debonairs and KFC are seen as the easy way out of cooking, especially for students and people with demanding occupations, bad eating habits may be a bigger threat to us than we thought.

A high-fat diet can damage the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which protects the central nervous system and provides the brain with its own safe environment. “Medical News Today” reported on a study in the open access publication Journal of Neuroinflammation. This study suggests that a daily dose of caffeine, the equivalent of one cup of coffee, could protect the BBB from the effects of a high-fat diet.

High levels of cholesterol have been known to breakdown the BBB which can lead to the central nervous system being damaged by blood-born contamination. It has also been noted the BBB leakage occurs in a variety of neurological disorders and disease including Alzheimer’s.

The rabbits who sat through the tests in this study should probably be thanked. Researchers from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences kept a group of rabbits on a high-cholesterol diet and tested them for 12 weeks. Some of the rabbits were given a 3mg caffeine dosage, daily, which is about a cup of coffee for an average person. After the twelve weeks the BBB was better protected in the rabbits who had received the daily caffeine dosage.

“For the first time we have shown that chronic ingestion of caffeine protects the BBB from cholesterol-induced leakage,” said Jonathan Geiger, from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in “Medical News Today.”

“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood-brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders,” said Geiger.

According to these findings and various other studies, caffeine protects people from memory loss in aging and in Alzheimer’s disease. So boil that kettle, have a cup and drink to coffee, because of it, many people may have a much more, memorable future.

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5 responses

6 04 2008
leiladylan

I disagree with your thinking. Sure, coffee could help with Alzheimers but it probably messes up 5 different other things in your body, so whats the point? I’m sure there are better ways to prevent Alzheimers than drinking something thats actually quite bad for your body.

7 04 2008
alnadall

Well, there has recently been so much debate about everything in general. I mean, apparently recycling contributes more to global warming than actual pollution (factory and gas emissions) and we use more fuel in making the nickel battery for a hybrid car than a hummer would use in 4 years. (I got that last one from Boston Legal so it might be debateable….) And the CEO of CNN said yesterday that we would all become cannibals as a result of global warming, food shortages and all that. Oh, yes, and the cellphone-giving-you-a-tumour thing.

Then there’s the rumour about the heavy-metal content in the Grahamstown, which will all inevitably give us Alzheimers in 20 years time! Dr. Oosthuizen says that the water in the location area is a lot cleaner and healthier than the water most of us drink on campus and in town.

I think if we all eat healthier, if we don’t drink and smoke, and if we put a little effort into caring for the environment, we should all be just fine.

7 04 2008
Lloyd

Nice post Alna. I saw that episode of Boston Legal too. I also heard somewhere that cow gas contributes substantially to global warming… guess it just depends who you listen to.

11 04 2008
silvabee

Leila you brought up a good point, I think this is a big problem in life however, something can be good for you at the same time as being quite damaging. Caffeine may be a possible treatment for Alzheimers but at the same time it is not without side effects. However pain killers, headache tablets and even herbal remedies can have adverse effects on your bodies. Anti-biotics may be necessary for your survival when you are really sick, or necessary to guarantee that an infection can be cured, however it also can damage your immune system. Anaestheics are necessary for surgery but it can also make your hair fall out and make you seriously ill, but for now we have no alternative. All we can do is wait until science betters the options we have now, and use everything in moderation, as best we can, I suppose.

6 06 2008
Alzheimers disease news

Data from the study, the largest of its kind, contradicts some previous studies that found that ibuprofen might exceed others in its class when it comes to preventing this type of dementia. Besides ibuprofen, other types of NSAIDs include naproxen and aspirin.

But the bottom line, the study authors said, is that the findings don’t support the use of NSAIDs to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s, at least not yet anyway.

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