Using mice bred to develop symptoms mimicking Alzheimer's disease, the USF team presented the first evidence that a caffeinated coffee offers protection against the memory-robbing disease that is not possible with other caffeine-containing drinks or decaffeinated coffee.
The new study shows that caffeinated coffee induces an increase in blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor). GCSF is a substance greatly decreased in patients with Alzheimer's disease and demonstrated to improve memory in Alzheimer's mice.
"Caffeinated coffee provides a natural increase in blood GCSF levels," said USF neuroscientist Dr. Chuanhai Cao, lead author of the study.
"The exact way that this occurs is not understood. There is a synergistic interaction between caffeine and some mystery component of coffee that provides this beneficial increase in blood GCSF levels," added Cao.
Higher blood GCSF levels due to coffee intake were associated with better memory.
"Together these actions appear to give coffee an amazing potential to protect against Alzheimer's, but only if you drink moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee," said Cao.
The findings will be published in detail in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
From the June 23, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.