Whether it’s your morning rush of energy or simply enjoying the fruity, smoky smoothness as it settles on your palette, Brits love a good cup of coffee.
With the London Coffee Festival commencing tomorrow and the celebration of all things from lattes to skinny caramel macchiatos, coffee lovers will rejoice to learn that their caffeine fix could in fact be helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study led by Professor Hui-Chen Lu from Indiana University has discovered that caffeine is one of the 24 compounds that boost the enzyme NMNAT24 in the brain.
The study, published last month, found that NMNAT24 protects neurons from stress and fights against the proteins called tau, which build up in the brain as plaques. These plaques have been proven to cause neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
‘This work could help advance efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain and could play a role in future treatment of these debilitating mental disorders,’ Lu said in a press statement released by the university.
Alzheimer’s Research UK states that there are currently 850,000 people suffering in the UK, a 56% increase since 2010/11 and it is predicted that this number will increase to over one million by 2025, with a cure yet to be discovered.
Roger Cook, science manager at the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee said: ‘Whilst the research findings are valuable in providing further understanding of a very unpleasant condition, much more research is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn.’
Starbucks regular and student Alissa D’antonio, 20 said: ‘It’s great that scientific research is working to uncover cures and prevention for Alzheimer’s. I drink at least 3 cups of coffee a day but research needs to conclude how much coffee is beneficial and how much can be harmful. I’m a smoker so I have to be wary about my heart rate and other problems associated with stimulants anyway.’
Robin Brisbourne from Alzheimer’s Research UK stated that: ‘The best current evidence from the dementia prevention field suggests that eating a healthy diet, staying mentally and physically active, not smoking and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check are the most effective ways to keep our brains healthy.’