Researchers have determined that caffeinated coffee fights Alzheimer's disease in mice.
Per the article:
Neither caffeine alone nor a decaf version of the beverage provided the same protection as caffeinated coffee. Researchers found that caffeine interacted with an unknown compound in coffee to increase blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF, which helps create neurons in the brain.
"We are not saying that daily moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from getting Alzheimer's disease," said lead researcher Chuanhai Cao in a University of South Florida press release. "However, we do believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of this dreaded disease or delay its onset."
Though results have been mixed about coffee's effects on human health, the research contributes to a growing body of evidence showing the beverage may not be that bad after all.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Per the article:
Since the mice in the experiment had been triggered to develop Alzheimer's symptoms, they were projected to show a decrease in the GCSF. But mice receiving coffee with caffeine showed higher levels of GCSF and performed better at working memory tests -- something not observed in the other groups.
i.e., the mice were divided into groups and the mice in only one of the groups were provided with caffeinated coffee in their diet. Then all of the groups were induced to develop Alzheimer's. The the mice in the group that had been provided caffeinated coffee were the only ones that did not develop it as severely. This means it was the caffeinated coffee that made the difference.
Mice are somewhat similar to people but of course are not actually people so testing needs to be done on people also in order confirm that the result applies to them. The testing will take longer for people because the researchers must wait for them to develop Alzheimer's naturally rather than induced them to develop it.
They don't have the causes of Alzheimer's completely figured out but they have been finding genes (as many as ten now per the article below) that seem to be associated with it. There is one gene in particular called APOE that seems to be associated with the development of Alzheimer's. Per the article below:
By themselves, the genes are not nearly as important a factor as APOE, a gene discovered in 1995 that greatly increases risk for the disease: by 400 percent if a person inherits a copy from one parent, by 1,000 percent if from both parents.
My understanding is that they can genetically engineer mice to have the genes and, thereby, induce Alzheimer's symptoms in them.