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Coffee Prevents Alzheimer’s: New Research Explains How

coffee brewing in Chemex potScientists working together in France and Germany may have discovered the mechanism by which coffee prevents Alzheimer’s disease and the memory losses associated with it. Over the past decade, multiple studies have suggested that people who drink coffee regularly throughout their adult lives are less likely to suffer the memory and cognitive loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but were at a loss to explain exactly how coffee prevents Alzheimer’s and reduces its symptoms. Now, a pair of doctors working in concert believe they may have uncovered the specific mechanism at work.

Dr. Christa E. Müller from the University of Bonn in Germany and Dr. David Blum from the University of Lille in France conducted a joint research project to investigate the effect of caffeine on tau protein deposits in the brain. These tau protein deposits and beta-amyloid plaques are the two characteristic markers of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that the plaques and proteins bind to adenosine receptors and disrupt communication between the brain’s cells.

The researchers worked with mice that are bred to develop tau deposits similar to those found in human brains. They divided the mice into two groups. One group was fed caffeine – about the amount you’d get in two cups of coffee daily — in their water. The other group received no caffeine. Over time, the caffeinated mice continued to perform well on cognitive tests requiring memory while the non-caffeinated group showed the expected decline in cognitive function.

The scientists found that the mice in the caffeine group had significantly fewer and smaller tau deposits than those in the group that had not been fed caffeine. They believe that their discovery may lead to a new class of drugs that help prevent or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. I’m not so sure about that idea. If it turns out that coffee prevents Alzheimer’s disease as these research studies suggest, most people I know would rather drink a cup of coffee than take a pill every day.

Deb Powers has been reading about coffee, drinking coffee, brewing coffee, writing about coffee and roasting her own coffee for nearly 30 years.She confesses to being a coffee wonk and finds endless fascination in even the most meta of coffee information.
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Deb Powers – who has written posts on CoffeeBreak.Today.

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