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

nd this reduction is linked to cognitive benefit," Potter said. "Our goal is to obtain the funding needed to translate the therapeutic discoveries in mice into well-designed clinical trials."

Arendash and his colleagues became interested in caffeine's potential for treating Alzheimer's several years ago, after a Portuguese study reported that people with Alzheimer's had consumed less caffeine over the last 20 years than people without the neurodegenerative disease. Since then, several uncontrolled clinical studies have reported moderate caffeine consumption may protect against memory decline during normal aging. The highly controlled studies using Alzheimer's mice allowed researchers to isolate the effects of caffeine on memory from other lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, Arendash said.

The just-published Florida ADRC study included 55 mice genetically altered to develop memory problems mimicking Alzheimer's disease as they aged. After behavioral tests confirmed the mice were exhibiting signs of memory impairment at age 18 to 19 months about age 70 in human years the researchers gave half the mice caffeine in their drinking water. The other half got plain water. The Alzheimer's mice received the equivalent of five 8-oz. cups of regular coffee a day. That's the same amount of caffeine 500 milligrams -- as contained in two cups of specialty coffees like Starbucks, or 14 cups of tea, or 20 soft drinks.

At the end of the two-month study, the caffeinated mice performed much better on tests measuring their memory and thinking skills. In fact, their memories were identical to normal aged mice without dementia. The Alzheimer's mice drinking plain water continued to do poorly on the tests.

In addition, the brains of the caffeinated mice showed nearly a 50-percent reduction in levels of beta amyloid, a substance forming the sticky clumps of plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Other experiments by the same in
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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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