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Prevent Alzheimer’s: Keep the coffee flowing

By Antonio Marques • Nov 22nd, 2007 • Category: Diseases, Features, Medicine

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Alzheimer’s disease  is a neurodegenerative disease that might affect over 25 million people all over the world. In the US alone, Alzheimer’s kill over 60 thousand people per year.

Although it is known to be more commonly found on individuals over 65 years of age, there is an inherited variant that can lead to an early-onset of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is characterized by an accumulation of misfolded proteins (amyloid beta and tau). Although in small concentrations these proteins are soluble and harmless, as the concentration increases, proteins become insoluble and aggregate forming plaques outside neurons (senile plaques) that lead to brain atrophy through loss of neurons.

Although Alzheimer’s can’t be prevented, specially if originated by genetic mutations, more and more reports show that certain dietary habits might influence the progress of the disease and help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s.

Recently, several studies were performed that show that a diary dose of coffee (or more precisely caffeine, an adenosine receptor antagonist) helps to minimize the production of malformed amyloid beta and thus reduces the risks of developing Alzheimer’s.

In January, a statistical study was published (Quintana et al., 2007) showing that consumption of coffee over decades is inversely associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s.

These results were confirmed also on the lab using transgenic mice and neuron cultures (Arendash et al., 2006). Caffeine intake reduced the levels of lower hippocampal β-amyloid levels and helped control the levels of brain adenosine levels.

So, keep the coffee flowing. Just don’t exaggerate…

Just as a side note, there were mentions recently that Alzheimer’s could be also a new type of Diabetes (video with the story).

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