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.