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Caffeine reverses memory impairment in Alzheimer's mice
Date:7/5/2009

Tampa, FL (July 5, 2009) Coffee drinkers may have another reason to pour that extra cup. When aged mice bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease were given caffeine the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day their memory impairment was reversed, report University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Back-to-back studies published online today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, show caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer's disease, both in the brains and in the blood of mice exhibiting symptoms of the disease. Both studies build upon previous research by the Florida ADRC group showing that caffeine in early adulthood prevented the onset of memory problems in mice bred to develop Alzheimer's symptoms in old age.

"The new findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable 'treatment' for established Alzheimer's disease, and not simply a protective strategy," said lead author Gary Arendash, PhD, a USF neuroscientist with the Florida ADRC. "That's important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process."

Based on these promising findings in mice, researchers at the Florida ADRC and Byrd Alzheimer's Center at USF hope to begin human trials to evaluate whether caffeine can benefit people with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer's disease, said Huntington Potter, PhD, director of the Florida ADRC and an investigator for the caffeine studies. The research group has already determined that caffeine administered to elderly non-demented humans quickly affects their blood levels of β-amyloid, just as it did in the Alzheimer's mice.

"These are some of the most promising Alzheimer's mouse experiments ever done showing that caffeine rapidly reduces beta amyloid protein in the blood, an effect that is mirrored in the brain, a
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Contact: Gary Arendash
arendash@cas.usf.edu
813-732-9040
University of South Florida Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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