A group of experts in the United States believes that it may have discovered the reason why coffee appears to be protecting consumers from the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly, the group found that caffeine itself plays an important role in underlying this capability.
The new results indicate that a still-unidentified compound in coffee interacts with caffeine to produce the protective effort. Researchers are however still at a loss in explaining what the other chemical might be, or how the chemical reaction takes place.
According to the researchers, their new study was carried out entirely on unsuspecting lab mice. However, the work is believed to have a significant impact on human studies as well, since the little rodents respond to coffee in very much the same way we do.
The thing that led researchers to propose that an unidentified compound in coffee was responsible for protecting the brain was the fact that a protective effect could not be established between decaffeinated coffee or caffeine-containing drinks and positive mental health outcomes.
What this means is that the direct interactions between caffeine and the mystery compound is necessary in order for any sort of positive effect to result. As research in this area unfolds, experts continue to urge middle-aged people and seniors to consume moderate amounts of coffee.
Alzheimer's is a form of dementia, a neurodegenerative condition that leads to memory loss, impaired attention and judgment, loss of cognitive abilities and of learning skills and so on. At this point, there is no known cure against it.
Healthcare providers highlight that prevention is the key to beating Alzheimer's and related conditions, and say that a mentally-active lifestyle, learning other languages, exercising and a variety of other activities can be used as protection against the onset of the terrible disease.
“No synthetic drugs have yet been developed to treat the underlying Alzheimer’s disease process,” explains one of the lead authors of the new work, Dr. Gary Arendash. He is based at the University of South Florida.
“We see no reason why an inherently natural product such as coffee cannot be more beneficial and safer than medications, especially to protect against a disease that takes decades to become apparent after it starts in the brain,” adds the expert, quoted by PsychCentral
Details of the new research were published in the latest early online issue of the medical Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.