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Coffee Could Save You From Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Says

  A new study published Wednesday shows that espresso could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the University of Verona in Ita...

 A new study published Wednesday shows that espresso could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the University of Verona in Italy found that compounds in espresso beverages, including caffeine, could slow or prevent the brain disorder.

The researchers concluded, “We have presented a large body of evidence that espresso coffee, a widely consumed beverage, is a source of natural compounds showing beneficial properties in ameliorating … pathologies,” such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers said that “numerous studies” showing that “coffee consumption exerts a [protective] action against two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, i.e., Parkinson′s and Alzheimer′s,” prompted them to perform the study on espresso because of its high concentration of coffee molecules.

While experts are still uncovering the processes that cause the diseases to develop, most researchers have pointed to a protein in the brain called tau, which helps stabilize structures in that area of the human body. 

However, when tau clumps in the brain, it interrupts the communication between nerves, causing memory loss, poor judgment, wandering, and personality changes — all symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study used in-vitro and cell culture tests and found that four compounds found in espresso — caffeine, trigonelline, genistein, and theobromine — reduced the length of the tau fibers, preventing them from clumping. As the concentration of caffeine increased, tau proteins could not form larger sheets, indicating that the progress toward Alzheimer’s might be slowed.

Although more research is needed, the researchers said their preliminary findings would “pave the way toward finding or designing other bioactive compounds against … Alzheimer’s,” according to a press release.

6.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the disorder is the fifth leading cause of death among the elderly, claiming 134,242 American lives in 2020. 

The study was funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research and follows several studies aimed at linking coffee consumption with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

A 2018 study by Canadian researchers showed that dark roast coffee is also beneficial for brain health and could work to prevent both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 


However, Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the JAMA peer-reviewed medical magazine, told USA Today at the time that coffee studies should be “taken with a sip of skepticism.” He said that most coffee studies are association studies, meaning they don’t necessarily prove that coffee is the reason for the finding. 

Recent advances in drug therapies have given Alzheimer’s patients and their families hope. A new medication, donanemab, reduced the risk of progressing from mild to moderate dementia by 40% in a recent study and is expected to be approved by the FDA this fall.

If approved, donanemab would join Lequembi and Aduhelm as the third FDA-approved drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Gil Rabinovici, the director of the University of California San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center, praised the advancements, saying they were “just the opening chapter in a new era of molecular therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.”

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