Caffeine May Reverse Effects of Alzheimer's

Stimulant alleviates cognitive decline in lab mice
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2009 2:49 AM CDT
Coffee beans await consumption at a Starbucks in in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – Caffeine may reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study indicates. University of Florida researchers investigated the effects of a high caffeine diet on mice genetically engineered to suffer from high levels of beta-amyloid—a protein associated with human Alzheimer's—that causes cognitive decline in old age. The mice on caffeine performed significantly better on learning and memory tests than their uncaffeinated, cognitively impaired peers, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Previous research has suggested regular caffeine intake may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s. But the mice in this study received no caffeine until the equivalent of human age 70, suggesting that caffeine could help treat, as well as prevent, the disease. "We are not saying this is the silver bullet,'' said the lead researcher. "But there is something about this compound that has benefits for aging bodies.''