The suspicion that coffee interacted in some way to stave off or delay onset of Alzheimer's has long been suspected, but until now non one knew its mechanism or what exactly caused the interaction.
A new, groundbreaking research shows that caffeine could have an effect on patients who are developing Alzheimer's or will develop the disease, because caffeine affects tau deposits in the brain.
Research conducted in a joint study by German and French scientists show that in lab mice, a buildup of tau deposits in the brain was slowed when caffeine was administered and that in turn slowed the onset of Alzheimer's and its hallmark condition, memory loss.
This discovery is very important in that it could lead to the development of a new class of drugs which could reduce a similar Tau deposit buildup in the brain and stave off the disease.
One of the issues with Alzheimer's is that tau deposits build up over time and interfere with cell activity and metabolism in the brain, finally rendering those cells inactive and unable to communicate with each other. This also leads to cell deaths for those cells heavily affected by the deposits.
The research on mice has shown that assumption of small or moderate doses of caffeine in mice that were bred to specifically build tau deposits slowed the loss of memory and therefore the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Earlier research had focused on how caffeine affected mice that were bred to develop amyloid plaques, the plaques that are observable in full blown Alzheimer's. But this new research focused on tau protein. And that's because Tau protein buildup affects specifically the cells that have to do with memory.
In the words of the researchers, the assumption of caffeine showed that "improved memory was associated with reduced hippocampal tau phosphorylation and proteolytic fragments."
In short caffeine reduced the inflammatory processes that lead to oxidative stress in the hippocampus. More interestingly, the research showed that caffeine improved memory in mice bred to have tau deposits, even after such deposits were present.
Source : MNT/ 4.8.14