Java junkies rejoice!
New studies suggest that caffeine reduces cerebral beta amyloid deposits and improves memory and overall cognitive function in aged mice genetically altered to develop a murine form of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is more, reductions in levels of the protein marker and the improved behavioral performance showed up after the mice received the equivalent of just 2 Grande Starbucks per day for 2 months.
To reach these conclusions, Gary Arendash and colleagues at the University of South Florida studied 55 mice.
After cognitive testing confirmed the little fellows were losing their marbles, the scientists added caffeine to the drinking water of half the subjects. The unlucky others just got the water.
After 2 months, the mice that received the Joe outperformed their counterparts on a battery of memory and cognitive skills, and in fact their recall essentially matched that of normal, age-matched mice.
The scientists then showed that brains of the caffeinated mice had nearly 50% less beta amyloid, the notorious plaque-building protein that is the pathologic sine qua non of Alzheimer’s disease.
“The findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable treatment for established Alzheimer’s disease, and not simply a protective strategy,” Arendash told BurrillReport. “Caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process.”
Arendash’s group performed follow-up experiments which suggested the wonder drug appears to work by down-regulating the process by which beta amyloid is produced, and by reducing cerebral inflammatory changes that stimulate beta amyloid production.
The write-up appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The scientists hope to begin human trials shortly. Getting people to volunteer for the studies is not expected to be problematic.