Monday, August 17, 2009
Cup a Joe
That morning cup of joe may help reverse memory loss in Alzheimer's patients.A new study shows caffeine significantly decreases abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer's disease in the brain and blood of mice that show symptoms of the disease.In the study, 55 mice were genetically altered to develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. After displaying signs of memory impairment, the mice were given the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day in their drinking water. After two months, the mice that had been given caffeine showed a nearly 50 percent reduction in the levels of beta amyloid, a substance that contributes to the sticky clumps of plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. The study also suggests caffeine suppresses inflammatory changes in the brain that lead to an excess of beta amyloid."The new findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable 'treatment' for established Alzheimer's disease, and not simply a protective strategy," Gary Arendash, Ph.D., a University of South Florida neuroscientist with the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Tampa, Fla., was quoted saying. "That's important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process."
SOURCE: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, published online July 5, 2009
Isn't it great when they find out that something we love (like chocolate or wine) is actually good for us. Not in large quanities, but in reasonable amounts these foods will improve our health. Even when I was a kid I loved the smell of coffee. When Mom would open the can of Folger's, I'd be right there to take a whiff! My Grandma Risley was the one who "taught" me to drink coffee at about the age of 12. I would set at the breakfast table and watch her "read the coffeegrounds." Now this may be foreign to most of you, but Grandma was Cherokee Indian and folklore had been taught from an early age. She would finish her coffee, then turn her cup over into the saucer and turn it 3 full rotations. We'd sit and wait, together. In a few minutes she would turn the cup right side up and tell me what she saw. Sometimes the grounds would appear as a road and a larger speck might be a person coming to see her. Another time she would see many small specks, maybe rain or snow. Grandma would fix me a cup with cream and a little sugar and encourage me to drink. I did everything she told me and she was right, it was delicious!
After I married I carried on the tradition of buying Folgers for years until one day it just didn't taste the same. Starbucks woke us all up to the fact that a whole world of coffeebeans was out there, waiting for us. We now use beans exclusively and our Melitta coffeepot grinds the beans on one side and brews on the other. The first cup of coffee each morning is always the best, but I can drink coffee throughout the day...especially in cold weather.