Thursday, September 11, 2014

Alzheimer’s disease – it now seems that caffeine may help protect us!

©Phovoir

Can caffeine help protect against certain brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease? This is what French researchers at INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) are suggesting. And for the first time they have provided experimental proof of the beneficial effects of caffeine on the brain. Though, at present, only on mice.
Dr David Blum and his “Alzheimer’s & Taupathies” laboratory team (INSERM/Lille University 2/ Lille Nord de France University) have been working on a transgenic mouse model. With age, these mice developed a neurodegenerative condition associated with tau proteins. The authors have shown that “habitual caffeine consumption prevented impaired memory and certain changes in tau proteins”.

This protein is essential to cell stabilisation, particularly that of brain cells. It plays a key role in the formation of synapses. Where neurons are healthy, it too is “normal”. However, where certain anomalies occur, it forms abnormal tau protein clumps, leading to cell degeneration. If unregulated, these eventually produce microtubules – filaments that suffocate the neurons and cause them to die. Scientists then refer to “pathogenic and pathological tau”.