Research: caffeine in coffee against Alzheimer's

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Regular coffee consumption can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

Apparently, drinking coffee regularly can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the German Research Center Jülich came to this result in a scientific study. The caffeine contained in coffee works in those areas of the brain that are involved in Alzheimer's disease.

Regular coffee consumption can apparently reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, according to a recent study. The result is not new, as previous research has found that eating coffee produces a lower risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich have now, for the first time, been able to localize where the active ingredient caffeine in coffee works in the human brain. However, the substance is not only found in coffee, but also in black tea and chocolate.

"Caffeine in tea or coffee is one of the most commonly used stimulants worldwide," said Prof. Dr. Andreas Bauer from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine. However, caffeine differs from amphetamines or other intoxicants in that there is no addictive potential, even if it is consumed regularly. The caffeine stimulates especially in highly developed brain regions. According to the researcher Prof. Andreas Bauer "our studies show that caffeine works in the brain regions that are also affected by Alzheimer's disease".

Marker and caffeine injected by infusion
In several laboratory experiments, the scientists have already been able to show “that caffeine displaces an imaging marker called 18F-CPFPX,” reports Bauer. The scientists made use of this effect in the current study. Initially, a total of 15 participating subjects were injected with a special marker, the effect of which was identified by means of a positron emission tomography (PET) examination. The participants were then given different doses of caffeine by infusion. The dosages corresponded to the typical consumption of two to four cups of coffee.

Caffeine leads to nerve cell activity
"The PET images showed that the marker located at a very specific docking point of the nerve cells, the A1 adenosine receptor," said the doctor. “Interestingly enough, the amount of average daily caffeine consumption, for example two to three cups of coffee, is enough to block about 50 percent of the adenosine receptors. Since adenosine normally inhibits nerve cell activity, the blockade with caffeine leads to disinhibition, ie activation of the nerve cells, ”explained Bauer. Accordingly, caffeine works in the so-called association cortex, which is responsible for complex tasks such as association or evaluation processes in the brain.

Mechanism identified important for further Alzheimer's research
Given that other studies have already shown a positive effect in terms of reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's, the newly gained knowledge of the mechanisms of caffeine is “an important step towards, for example, preventive agents and novel medicines for the treatment of Alzheimer's and To develop Parkinson's. ”The study showed that caffeine works in the brain where Alzheimer's disease is normally active. Therefore, future studies should also “research the molecular mechanisms of protective consumption of caffeine,” says the research center in the science magazine “Journal of Nuclear Medicine”. The study report was also published on this platform as the first publication. (sb)

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