Nav: Home

Drinking coffee may reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

November 05, 2018

TORONTO - Approximately 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year.

A new study out of the Krembil Brain Institute, part of the Krembil Research Institute, suggests there could be more to that morning jolt of goodness than a boost in energy and attention. Drinking coffee may also protect you against developing both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

"Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease," says Dr. Donald Weaver, Co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute. "But we wanted to investigate why that is -- which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline."

Dr. Weaver enlisted Dr. Ross Mancini, a research fellow in medicinal chemistry and Yanfei Wang, a biologist, to help. The team chose to investigate three different types of coffee - light roast, dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast.

"The caffeinated and de-caffeinated dark roast both had identical potencies in our initial experimental tests," says Dr. Mancini. "So we observed early on that its protective effect could not be due to caffeine."

Dr. Mancini then identified a group of compounds known as phenylindanes, which emerge as a result of the roasting process for coffee beans. Phenylindanes are unique in that they are the only compound investigated in the study that prevent - or rather, inhibit - both beta amyloid and tau, two protein fragments common in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, from clumping. "So phenylindanes are a dual-inhibitor. Very interesting, we were not expecting that." says Dr. Weaver.

As roasting leads to higher quantities of phenylindanes, dark roasted coffee appears to be more protective than light roasted coffee.

"It's the first time anybody's investigated how phenylindanes interact with the proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," says Dr. Mancini. "The next step would be to investigate how beneficial these compounds are, and whether they have the ability to enter the bloodstream, or cross the blood-brain barrier."

The fact that it's a natural compound vs. synthetic is also a major advantage, says Dr. Weaver.

"Mother Nature is a much better chemist than we are and Mother Nature is able to make these compounds. If you have a complicated compound, it's nicer to grow it in a crop, harvest the crop, grind the crop out and extract it than try to make it."

But, he admits, there is much more research needed before it can translate into potential therapeutic options.

"What this study does is take the epidemiological evidence and try to refine it and to demonstrate that there are indeed components within coffee that are beneficial to warding off cognitive decline. It's interesting but are we suggesting that coffee is a cure? Absolutely not."
-end-
About the Krembil Research Institute

The Krembil Research Institute (or "Krembil") is one of the principal research institutes of the University Health Network. The Krembil is focused on research programs dedicated to brain & spine, arthritis and vision disorders with a goal to alleviate debilitating chronic disease through basic, translational and clinical research. Krembil is located at the Toronto Western Hospital in downtown Toronto. For more information, visit http://www.uhn.ca/Research/Research_Institutes/Krembil

About University Health Network University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. http://www.uhn.ca

University Health Network

Related Coffee Articles:

Coffee linked to lower body fat in women
Women who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have been found to have lower total body and abdominal fat than those who drink less, according to a new study published in The Journal of Nutrition.
How to make the healthiest coffee during COVID-19 lockdown
We may all be drinking more coffee to help us survive the COVID-19 lockdown.
Coffee changes our sense of taste
Sweet food is even sweeter when you drink coffee. This is shown by the result of research from Aarhus University.
'Whiskey webs' are the new 'coffee ring effect'
Spilled coffee forms a ring as the liquid evaporates, depositing solids along the edge of the puddle.
Is your coffee contributing to malaria risk?
Researchers at the University of Sydney and University of São Paulo, Brazil, estimate 20% of the malaria risk in deforestation hot spots is driven by the international trade of exports including: coffee, timber, soybean, cocoa, wood products, palm oil, tobacco, beef and cotton.
The complex biology behind your love (or hatred) of coffee
Why do some people feel like they need three cups of coffee just to get through the day when others are happy with only one?
Room for complexity? The many players in the coffee agroecosystem
The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
Coffee may protect against gallstones
Drinking more coffee may help reduce the risk of developing gallstones, according to a new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Managing the ups and downs of coffee production
Research could bring new coffee varieties to market faster and improve yields.
Could coffee be the secret to fighting obesity?
Scientists from the University of Nottingham have discovered that drinking a cup of coffee can stimulate 'brown fat', the body's own fat-fighting defenses, which could be the key to tackling obesity and diabetes.
More Coffee News and Coffee Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.