New evidence caffeine may slow Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, restore cognitive function

May 17, 2010

Although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug worldwide, its potential beneficial effect for maintenance of proper brain functioning has only recently begun to be adequately appreciated. Substantial evidence from epidemiological studies and fundamental research in animal models suggests that caffeine may be protective against the cognitive decline seen in dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). A special supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, "Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases," sheds new light on this topic and presents key findings.

Guest editors Alexandre de Mendonça, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal, and Rodrigo A. Cunha, Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of Coimbra and Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal, have assembled a group of international experts to explore the effects of on the brain. The resulting collection of original studies conveys multiple perspectives on topics ranging from molecular targets of caffeine, neurophysiological modifications and adaptations, to the potential mechanisms underlying the behavioral and neuroprotective actions of caffeine in distinct brain pathologies.

"Epidemiological studies first revealed an inverse association between the chronic consumption of caffeine and the incidence of Parkinson's disease," according to Mendonça and Cunha. "This was paralleled by animal studies of Parkinson's disease showing that caffeine prevented motor deficits as well as neurodegeneration "Later a few epidemiological studies showed that the consumption of moderate amounts of caffeine was inversely associated with the associated with aging as well as the incidence of . Again, this was paralleled by animal studies showing that chronic caffeine administration prevented memory deterioration and neurodegeneration in animal models of aging and of Alzheimer's disease."

Key findings presented in "Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer's Disease and Other ":

  • Multiple beneficial effects of caffeine to normalize brain function and prevent its degeneration
  • Caffeine's neuroprotective profile and its ability to reduce amyloid-beta production
  • Caffeine as a candidate disease-modifying agent for Alzheimer's disease
  • Positive impact of caffeine on cognition and memory performance
  • Identification of adenosine A2A receptors as the main target for neuroprotection afforded by caffeine consumption
  • Confirmation of data through valuable meta-analyses presented
  • Epidemiological studies corroborated by meta-analysis suggesting that caffeine may be protective against Parkinson's disease
  • Several methodological issues must be solved before advancing to decisive clinical trials
Mendonça and Cunha also observe that "the daily follow-up of patients with AD has taught us that improvement of daily living may be a more significant indicator of amelioration than slight improvements in objective measures of memory performance. One of the most prevalent complications of AD is depression of mood, and the recent observations that caffeine might be a mood normalizer are of particular interest."

Explore further: AMA examines economic impact of physicians

More information: The entire issue has been made available on a no-fee basis at iospress.metapress.com/content/t13614762731/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In women, caffeine may protect memory

Aug 06, 2007

Caffeine may help older women protect their thinking skills, according to a study published in the August 7, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Your brain on -- and off -- caffeine

May 01, 2009

Ever miss your daily cup of coffee and subsequently get a pounding headache? According to reports from consumers of coffee and other caffeinated products, caffeine withdrawal is often characterized by a headache, ...

Caffeine effects on children studied

Apr 26, 2006

Arkansas scientists say they've found caffeine elevates blood pressure and lowers heart rate in children during exercise, but doesn't affect metabolism.

Caffeine powder is recalled

May 21, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Spectrum Laboratory Products Inc. is recalling its Caffeine Citrated Powder due to potential potency issues.

Caffeine abuse becoming health problem

Nov 27, 2006

Use of caffeine as a stimulant is becoming a problem among U.S. young people who can't get enough of it, Northwestern University researchers say.

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

13 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.