Preventing Alzheimer's with Coffee
Strange as it might sound, caffeine may hold the key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. There is a reason to believe that beta amyloid plaque buildup (an attribute of Alzheimer’s) can be reduced by taking caffeine.
This isn’t the first time medical experts have suggested that caffeine could effectively prevent the manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease. Medical experts have been studying the ailment for quite a while now, exploring the possible links between Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment and a number of dietary factors.
This is one of the very few times that a study (published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease) has justified the connection between caffeine intake and Alzheimer’s prevention with hard data.
Doctors are always encouraging individuals who suspect that they might be suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment to seek medical attention as soon as possible, the idea being to detect and begin treatment for Alzheimer’s disease during its earliest stages.
This particular study, connecting caffeine intake to Alzheimer’s prevention, was performed by experts from the Universities of Miami and South Florida. The study constituted an estimated 124 subjects over the age of 65 suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment.
The team recorded the levels of caffeine in each subject’s blood in the beginning. These caffeine levels were then subsequently measured every few months over years. Following their analysis, the researchers found that subjects whose MCI had progressed to dementia had lower caffeine levels in their blood than individuals whose mental ailment had not progressed tangibly.
Not a single one of the subjects whose caffeine levels were above the average level manifested Alzheimer’s; this in comparison to all the subjects that had low caffeine levels and all of whom eventually developed Alzheimer’s.
In this particular study, the participants were using coffee as their primary source of caffeine. As such, despite providing notable evidence that caffeine intake can actually help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, it is difficult to determine whether caffeine acquired from other beverages would produce similar results.
The interpretation of the results of this study varies. Doctor Arendash, for instance, the study co-author, believes that moderate coffee consumption can provide long-term protection against the effects of Alzheimer’s on one’s memory. Considering the fact that coffee is not very expensive as well as it is easily available, Doctor Arendash believes that the popular beverage should be championed as an effective tool for preventing Alzheimer’s.
Doctor Chuanhai Cao, on the other hand, a USF College of Pharmacy neuroscientist and lead author of the study, is not sure that caffeine is so absolute in its effects, instead suggesting that coffee consumption might simply delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.