Quick! Buy up as many pounds of coffee and caffeinated tea as you can. Once caffeine is found to provide better results for Alzheimer's patients than the existing Alzheimer's prescription drugs, caffeine is sure to become illegal. Either that or big pharma will buy out Starbucks and the other popular coffee houses...
Two more studies were released today by South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC), building on prior study results showing positive effects of caffeine on the improvement of memory in mice.
Both new studies were headed by Gary Arendash, PhD, a USF neuroscientist with the Florida ADRC, and published in the July 5, 2009 issues of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
In the first of today's reports, mice who had been bred to develop Alzheimer's-like memory problems were given caffeine in their drinking water at 18 - 19 months old (about the age of 70 in human years), for a duration of two months. Another group of Alzheimer's mice received plain drinking water. At the end of two months, mice who had received the caffeine performed 50 percent better than the plain water drinkers - in fact, they performed as well as mice their age without dementia.
In addition to the improved memory and thinking skills, the caffeinated mice had nearly a 50 percent reduction in beta amyloid, the plaques that form in the brain causing Alzheimer's disease. Investigators theorized that the caffeine suppresses bacterial formations that lead to the formation of beta amyloid plaques.
The second experiment was conducted as a follow-up, this time using normal mice, those that had not been engineered to get Alzheimer's disease. The mice were administered caffeine from young adulthood through old age. In this case the mice given caffeine had the same results as the mice who were not given caffeine, suggesting that caffeine cannot improve your memory or thinking skills beyond your normal abilities.
Perhaps then caffeine only has a targeted effect on the suppression of beta amyloid plaques? Good enough.
Arendash and his colleagues will now begin work on human subjects. As for drinking huge amounts of coffee, don't do it if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure. But for those of you who don't want to wait for the final finals of these studies, the amount of caffeine given the mice was the equivalent of 500 mg. for humans. That's the amount in about five cups of regular coffee or "in two cups of specialty coffees like Starbucks, or 14 cups of tea, or 20 soft drinks."
Keeping you posted...