Scientists find clue to how caffeine fights Alzheimer's

European researchers have shed some light on how caffeine helps fight Alzheimer’s disease: it improves tau proteins in the brain and that seems to help slow the rate of memory decline.

Tau proteins are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s--they congest human brain cells. In the study, the researchers tested caffeine intake on two groups of mice: one group were bred with tau deposits similar to humans and the other group acted as a control. The group with tau received caffeine in their drinking water. The control group received no caffeine.

The mice that drank caffeine on a consistent basis did not develop spatial memory problems that the control mice did. The researchers said the chemistry of tau proteins was reduced, particularly within the hippocampus of the brain—the part responsible for memory. The results also revealed caffeine diminished pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers in the hippocampus.

While the researchers are hoping these findings may one day help with Alzheimer’s treatments, the next step is to test the effects of caffeine on humans.

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