Wednesday July 18, 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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Fresh Grounds for Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine

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Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois.
Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (VOA)

Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily.

In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine.

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal.

The results don’t prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research. But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers.

“It’s hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad,” Lichtenstein said.

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

It’s not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

Other studies have suggested that substances in coffee may reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin, which can reduce chances for developing diabetes. Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

Adam Taylor, fetching two iced coffees for friends Monday in downtown Chicago, said the study results make sense.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Coffee makes you happy, it gives you something to look forward to in the morning,” said Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas.

“I try to have just one cup daily,” Taylor said. “Otherwise I get a little hyper.”

For the study, researchers invited 9 million British adults to take part; 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general U.K. population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests. Most were coffee drinkers; 154,000 or almost one-third drank two to three cups daily and 10,000 drank at least eight cups daily.

During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease.

Caffeine can cause short-term increases in blood pressure, and some smaller studies have suggested that it might be linked with high blood pressure, especially in people with a genetic variation that causes them to metabolize caffeine slowly.

Also Read: What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

But coffee drinkers in the U.K. study didn’t have higher risks than nondrinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost.

As in previous studies, coffee drinkers were more likely than abstainers to drink alcohol and smoke, but the researchers took those factors into account, and coffee drinking seemed to cancel them out.

The research didn’t include whether participants drank coffee black or with cream and sugar. But Lichtenstein said loading coffee with extra fat and calories isn’t healthy. (VOA)