Wednesday April 25, 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.

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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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Brain’s memory area might be associated with anxiety and depression

Addiction, for example, could be linked to deficits of approach motivation. Anxiety and depression on the other hand could be linked to avoidance behaviours

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Sleep spindles can help in memory retention. Pixabay
Brain's memory can be affected by Depression and Anxiety. Pixabay

An area of the brain, commonly linked with memory and dementia, could also yield important clues about a range of mental health illnesses including addiction, anxiety and depression, a study has found.

The area, known as hippocampus, is a seahorse-shaped structure located deep inside the brain. As part of the limbic system, it plays an important role in memory processing and spatial cognition, including how mammals learn to understand and navigate their environment. Hippocampus have been long known for its role in memory and dementia, especially in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s patients for instance, this region is one of the first areas of the brain to suffer damage.

Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
Anxiety can cause avoidance behaviour. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, revealed that because hippocampus plays a role in basic motivational behaviour, it may also offer important insights into a range of mental health illnesses. Addiction, for example, could be linked to deficits of approach motivation. Anxiety and depression on the other hand could be linked to avoidance behaviours, all of which could manifest itself in this part of the brain, Ito said.

Also Read: Women with larger waistline are at higher risk of anxiety

“Some patients have lesions to certain areas of this part of the brain, so hopefully we can assess them to see what particular aspects of approach avoidance behaviour may or may not be impacted,” the researchers said. IANS

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