Can Caffeine Prevent Alzheimer's?

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In a study recently published by the University of South Florida, researchers discovered caffeine's ability to reverse some of the effects of Alzheimer's disease in mice.

What I like about the article is the thorough discussion of method and it anticipates several questions readers might have. In this study the effect is observed in mice not people, but we can be hopeful.

Some studies note an effect of coffee drinking without being able to identify the specific agent within coffee. This study is explicit; it's the caffeine.

What I found most interesting is that the mice were given caffeine, not coffee. Since a cup of coffee has over 1,200 identified compounds in it, some studies note an effect of coffee drinking without being able to identify the specific agent within coffee. This study is explicit; it's the caffeine.

The dose used was the human equivalent of 500 milligrams. They estimate this amount as five eight-ounce cups. As we noted, caffeine varies widely, so it's hard to be certain of dosage, but their estimate holds true for the "average" cup of Arabica coffee.

Thinking of my recent post on decaf, I had hoped that some other agent might be the active ingredient because the liver, which metabolizes caffeine, is adversely affected by age, and Alzheimer patients are usually older; thus, more likely to have their sleep affected.

The researchers tested to see whether caffeine would restore memory function associated with normal aging. Unfortunately, forgetfulness can't be restored with caffeine.

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Jerry Baldwin is co-founder of Starbucks in Seattle, where he was the first roaster and coffee buyer. More

Gerald Baldwin purchased Peet's Coffee and Tea in Berkeley, California, in 1984, and worked diligently to sustain the vision of the founder, Alfred Peet. He remains involved as a member of the board of directors. Jerry was a co-founder of Starbucks in Seattle, where he was the first roaster and coffee buyer. He remained involved until 1987 when he sold the company of eight stores. He accepts no credit (or blame) for the ensuing twenty-odd years. He also serves as a member of the board of TechnoServe a non-profit NGO working to alleviate poverty in Africa and Latin America. He has also been Chairman and Trustee of Coffee Quality Institute and President and Director of Association Scientific Internationale du Café (ASIC). Baldwin is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Specialty Coffee Association of America www.scaa.org, where he served as a director of the SCAA, and the the founding chairman of its Technical Standards Committee. Jerry was honored as Coffeeman of the Year for North America by Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, and he is an honorary member of the Kilimanjaro Specialty Coffee Growers Association, known as Kilicafe. Baldwin was a founding director of Red Hook Ale Brewery and a founding contributor of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He writes in Sonoma County, California, a few miles from M.F.K. Fisher's home in Glen Ellen, looking over his small vineyard. Jerry and his wife, Jane, produce small crops of olive oil and Zinfandel in the Valley of the Moon.
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