How coffee could protect against Alzheimer’s

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Compounds in coffee can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert their neuroprotective effects. Photo: Pexels


(Ben Taub/ IFL Science) — Depending on who you listen to, coffee is either a superfood (well, superdrink) or a health hazard, yet a remarkable new study demonstrates that store-bought Java beans can be used to disrupt the formation of protein plaques that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. And while the experiments were conducted in a petri dish, the researchers say it may be possible to attain similar results in vivo by drinking a few cups of Joe a day.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of a group of disorders called tauopathies, which are characterized by the aggregation of tau proteins in the brain. Given that recent studies have suggested a possible neuroprotective effect of coffee, the study authors decided to see how a regular espresso influences the development and behavior of these pathological protein clumps.

Using commercial coffee beans, the researchers poured themselves an espresso, before isolating a few of the compounds in their beverage. Specifically, they selected the alkaloids caffeine and trigonelline, as well as the flavonoids genistein and theobromine, for incubation alongside a shortened form of the tau protein for up to 40 hours. (…)

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