Tuesday November 13, 2018

Your daily cup of coffee can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms

For the study, the team analysed the effect of caffeine on normal ageing mice and familial Alzheimers models

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Coffee can worsen Alzheimer's symptoms. IANS
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  • Intake of coffee or caffeine may worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms
  • It may worsen their neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • There can be significant side effects too

Regular intake of coffee or caffeine by patients with Alzheimer’s disease may worsen their neuropsychiatric symptoms, including anxiety, say researchers. While it is well known that memory problems are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, this dementia is also characterised by neuropsychiatric symptoms, which may be strongly present already in the first stages of the disorder.

Diabetes drug could now treat Alzheimer's disease
Coffee can cause problems to the patients of Alzheimer’s disease. IANS

These are known as Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) and include anxiety, apathy, depression, hallucinations, paranoid, sundowning and more. The results indicate that caffeine worsened these symptoms in mice with Alzheimer’s. The researchers also discovered significant effects, especially in relation to neophobia — a fear of everything new — anxiety-related behaviours, and emotional and cognitive flexibility.

“The mice develop Alzheimer’s disease in a very close manner to the human patients with early-onset form of the disease,” said lead author Raquel Baeta-Corral from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. “They not only exhibit the typical cognitive problems but also a number of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD)-like symptoms, so it is a valuable model to address whether the benefits of caffeine will be able to compensate its putative negative effects.”

Also Read: Reducing Alzheimer’s stigma crucial for prevention research

For the study, the team analysed the effect of caffeine on normal ageing mice and familial Alzheimers models. However, coffee has also been suggested as a strategy to prevent dementia, both in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and in normal ageing processes, due to its action in blocking molecules – adenosine receptors – which may cause dysfunctions and diseases in old age.

It can worsen the condition of patients of Alzheimer's. Pixabay
It can worsen the condition of patients of Alzheimer’s. Pixabay

But “our observations of adverse caffeine effects in an Alzheimer’s disease model together with previous clinical observations suggest that an exacerbation of BPSD-like symptoms may partly interfere with the beneficial cognitive effects of caffeine”, the researchers said. IANS

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Managing Cholesterol May Reduce The Risk of Alzheimer’s: Researchers

The researchers confirmed their findings in a large genetic study of healthy adults

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alzheimer's, cholesterol
One hemisphere of a healthy brain (L) is pictured next to one hemisphere of a brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer disease. VOA

Managing cholesterol might help reduce Alzheimer’s risk, says researchers, including one of Indian-origin, who identified a genetic link between the progressive brain disorder and heart disease.

Examining DNA from more than 1.5 million people, the study showed that risk factors for heart disease such as elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels (HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol) were genetically related to Alzheimer’s risk.

However, genes that contribute to other cardiovascular risk factors, like body mass index and Type-2 diabetes, did not seem to contribute to genetic risk for Alzheimer’s.

Cognitive Impairment, cholesterol
Alzheimer’s disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer’s. VOA

“The genes that influenced lipid metabolism were the ones that also were related to Alzheimer’s disease risk,” said Celeste M. Karch, Assistant Professor at the Washington University’s School of Medicine.

Thus, if the right genes and proteins could be targeted, it may be possible to lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in some people by managing their cholesterol and triglycerides, added Rahul S. Desikan, Assistant Professor at the UCSF.

For the study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, the team

identified points of DNA that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and also heighten the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

alzheimer's, cholesterol
AI technique can boost brain scans to predict Alzheimer early. Pixabay

The team looked at differences in the DNA of people with factors that contribute to heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease and identified 90 points across the genome that were associated with risk for both diseases.

Their analysis confirmed that six of the 90 regions had very strong effects on Alzheimer’s and heightened blood lipid levels, including several within genes that had not previously been linked to dementia risk.

These included several points within the CELF1/MTCH2/SPI1 region on chromosome 11 that previously had been linked to the immune system.

Also Read: AI Technique to Improve Brain Scans To Predict Alzheimer’s Early

The researchers confirmed their findings in a large genetic study of healthy adults by showing that these same risk factors were more common in people with a family history of Alzheimer’s, even though they had not themselves developed dementia or other symptoms such as memory loss.

“These results imply that cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s pathology co-occur because they are linked genetically. That is, if you carry this handful of gene variants, you may be at risk not only for heart disease but also for Alzheimer’s,” Desikan said. (IANS)