Researchers find five cups of coffee per day may keep Alzheimer's away | Nevada Appeal | Serving Carson City, Nevada - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Researchers find five cups of coffee per day may keep Alzheimer's away | Nevada Appeal | Serving Carson City, Nevada

Researchers find five cups of coffee per day may keep Alzheimer's away

Photo by Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune
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Sindri Azpeitia of Wide Awake Conscious Cafe brews a fresh cup of coffee Tuesday. A new study says caffeine helps reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

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Jennie Tezak, jtezak@tahoedailytribune.com
January 16, 2008, 6:00 AM

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If you load up on java in the morning, you may be reducing your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.

Long-term intake of caffeine has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in mice that develop the disease.

In a study just published online in the journal Neuroscience, researchers at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute in Tampa, Fla., reported that caffeine intake equivalent to five cups of coffee per day in humans protects mice with Alzheimer's against further memory impairment and reduces Alzheimer's pathology in their brains.

An earlier study in humans indicated that Alzheimer's patients consumed markedly less caffeine during the 20 years preceding disease diagnosis compared with age-matched individuals without Alzheimer's disease.

"We wanted to test the ability of dietary caffeine intake to protect against Alzheimer's disease in a highly controlled study in Alzheimer's mice where the only variable that was different between groups was whether caffeine was in their drinking water or not," Gary Arendash, lead researcher in the study, said on the institute's Web site. "We were surprised to find that Alzheimer's mice given caffeine in their drinking water throughout adult life performed much better than Alzheimer's mice not given caffeine and very similar to normal mice without the disease."

When asked at various coffee shops in South Lake Tahoe, regular coffee drinkers voiced their opinions on this study and whether or not they would drink more coffee based on it.

At Alpen Sierra Coffee Roasting, Don Schlotz read a newspaper Tuesday as he sipped his coffee. Schlotz is a regular coffee drinker and drinks one cup per day.

"It sounds good to me," Schlotz said when asked about the study. "I hope it does decrease the risk."

Schlotz said he would not increase his coffee drinking based on the study.

"Before, they were saying coffee causes problems; now they're saying that's not really true," he said. "It's important to do everything in moderation. Coffee has some benefits."

Coffee drinker Rick Karsner, who was visiting South Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area, is a regular coffee drinker. He drinks coffee daily and lattes three or four times per week. When asked about the study, Karsner was not quite convinced.

"I'd say disbelief is my reaction," he said. "Coffee is 98 percent water. So what little is in there is already filtered. I'd have to see the data."

Karsner said he might increase his coffee drinking if he saw proof regarding the study.

Holland resident Valerie Thompson drinks five cups of coffee per day, which is the exact amount found to be beneficial in the study. When asked about the study, she said it wouldn't change her coffee consumption.

"It would be nice," Thompson said regarding the study. "I just drink what I like. I just do what I like to do, not because it's better for my health."

South Lake Tahoe resident Cash Lebish drinks two cups of black coffee per day.

"I'm glad they found that information," he said. "It wouldn't stop me either way, though. It's good that coffee has a positive effect."