Alzheimer's disease reversed in mice using caffeine

Monday, July 6, 2009

Comparison of a normal human brain with the brain of an Alzheimer's patient

Two studies published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease point to caffeine as reducing beta amyloid, a protein that in sticky clumps called senile plaque is a sign of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers had 55 mice who were genetically altered and exhibited memory loss at age 18 to 19 months (close to about age 70 in a human). Half the mice received the equivalent of five 8 ounce cups of regular coffee a day or 500 milligrams, about the same as in two cups of specialty coffees like Starbucks, in their drinking water. This half of the mice recovered and had memories as sharp as older mice who did not have dementia.

"The new findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable 'treatment' for established Alzheimer's disease, and not simply a protective strategy," said Gary Arendash, PhD, a University of South Florida neuroscientist with the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and a lead author of a study. "That's important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process."

The researchers hope to begin human trials based on their two months work in mice. Neil Hunt, CEO of the Alzheimer's Society said, "[M]uch more research is needed to determine whether drinking coffee has the same impact in people. It is too soon to say whether a cup of coffee is anything more than a pleasant pick me up."


Arendash GW, Mori T, Cao C, Mamcarz M, Runfeldt M, Dickson A, Rezai-Zadeh K, Tan J, Citron BA, Lin X, Echeverria V, and Potter H. Caffeine Reverses Cognitive Impairment and Decreases Brain Amyloid-β Levels in Aged Alzheimer's Disease Mice. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2009; 17:3: . Cao C, Cirrito JR, Lin X, Wang L, Verges DK, Dickson A, Mamcarz M, Zhang C, Mori T, Arendash GW, Holzman DN, and Potter H. Caffeine Suppresses Amyloid-β Levels in Plasma and Brain of Alzheimer's Disease Transgenic Mice. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2009; 17:3: .