Photo: JC Olivera (flickr)
It’s well known that caffeine has dozens of health benefits. Coffee, for example, is rich in antioxidants: molecules believed to protect against heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Caffeine is also a mood booster and useful for treating headaches.
Caffeine Good For Memory
Now there’s evidence that caffeine could be good for memory. Scientists at the University of South Florida found that caffeine reverses memory loss in mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s like memory problems.
Of the fifty-five mice in the study, half drank caffeinated water the equivalent of about five cups of coffee a day. The other half drank regular water.
Two months later, the caffeine swilling mice had the memories of much younger, dementia free mice. Apparently, caffeine helped reduce the production of Alzheimer’s causing proteins in the mice’s brains.
And the mice that drank regular water? They lost more and more of their memory and thinking skills.
So… Should We All Drink Lots Of Coffee?
So does this mean that drinking lots of coffee or tea or even soft drinks will prevent you from getting Alzheimer’s? Could reversing memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s be as simple as drinking more coffee?
That remains to be seen. But at least one previous study found that among a test group of people in Portugal, those with Alzheimer’s drank less coffee over the past twenty years than people without Alzheimer’s. Several other uncontrolled clinical studies have found that caffeine slows memory loss during normal aging.
The researchers are planning clinical human studies to see if caffeine’s benefits for memory addled mice translate to people. If so, caffeine could be an important way to combat Alzheimer’s–a disease that affects nearly half of Americans older than 85.