Friday, April 4, 2008

Salvation in a mug!

The BBC reports that daily intake of caffeine can help protect the brain (h/t Volokh):
Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.

***

"Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky," said Dr Jonathan Geiger, who led the study.

"High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, perhaps by compromising the protective nature of the blood brain barrier.

"Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders."

A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Disease Society said that the study shed "important light" on why previous research had showed benefits for drinking coffee.

"This is the best evidence yet that caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee a day can help protect the brain against cholesterol.

"In addition to its effect on the vascular system, elevated cholesterol levels also cause problems with the blood brain barrier.

"This barrier, which protects the brain from toxins and infections, is less efficient prior to brain damage caused by Alzheimer's disease or strokes."
Now, this has me pretty excited, because two of my most favoritest substances in the world are caffeine and cholesterol, and it's nice to know that they might be fighting to the death, Kumite-style, inside me right now. Keep in mind, though, that this entire experiment was done on rabbits, and a comparable effect hasn't actually been shown in humans yet.

1 comment:

Todd Stadler said...

The more Michael Pollan I read, the more I just kind of shrug off diet science.