Does Caffeine Improve Cognitive Function in People with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Can caffeine improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease? It’s an intriguing question that already has some science behind it. According to an article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a group of experts are now looking at the potential benefits of caffeine for treating memory problems in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Caffeine for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Studies on both animals and humans show that caffeine has beneficial effects on memory – particularly in the elderly. One study showed that older women who drank three or more cups of coffee each day had less decline in memory and cognitive function than those who drank a cup or less.
In animal studies, caffeine slows down degeneration of nerve tissue in aging animals and prevents dementia and memory loss in animal models. In humans, men who drink more caffeinated coffee have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, another degenerative disease of the brain.
In both humans and animals, caffeine seems to improve cognitive function, slow down degenerative changes in the brain, and boost memory. Now, scientists want to know whether caffeine can help people living with Alzheimer’s disease improve their ability to think and remember. Experts also point out that caffeine has mood stimulating effects which could be beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease who experience depression with their illness.
Can Caffeine Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Caffeine may not only play a role in improving cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients, but it could also help to protect people at high risk. One European study showed that people who drink more than three cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Still, much more research is needed before coffee could be recommended for Alzheimer’s disease prevention or treatment.
Caffeine seems to affect each individual differently. Some are sensitive to caffeine and experience anxiety, palpitations, increases in blood pressure, and insomnia. If high doses are needed to improve cognitive function, the side effects might be a limiting factor.
Caffeine to Improve Cognitive Function: The Bottom Line
It’s still too early to get out the coffee pot to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but sipping a cup or two at Starbuck’s could have some benefits after all.
- Medical News Today. “New Evidence Caffeine May Slow Alzheimer’s Disease And Other Dementias And Restore Cognitive Function”.
- Science Daily. “In Women, Caffeine May Protect Memory”.
- Alzheimer’s disease reversed in mice using caffeine