Want to avoid Alzheimer’s? Try a darker roast.
Even decaf does the trick.
- Scientists pinpoint why coffee can ward off Alzheimer's.
- The key compounds appear to be phenylindanes.
- Darker roasts, even espresso, offer the greatest benefit.
Scientists have been saying for a while that drinking coffee may reduce the chances of acquiring Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's (PD), and dementia. A new study, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience in October, has taken a closer look into the now popular maxim, analyzing the correlation between Joe and lower incidences of AD.
"We wanted to investigate why that is, which compounds are involved, and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline," co-author Donald Weaver told Medical News Today. "
Their identification of phenylindanes compounds as the source of java's beneficial effect leads to a couple of surprises. First off, decaf is just as effective as caffeinated coffee at avoiding the disease. Secondly, what really matters is how dark the coffee's roast is.
The experiments started much like our days
Photo credit: Hiro Otake
For analysis, researchers' stock solutions began with Starbucks 100 percent Arabica instant coffee in light roast, dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast varieties.
While the caffeine in coffee is known to produce a short-term increase in alertness, its long-term effect on the brain is less understood, especially since the amount of caffeine in any given cup is dependent on a host of variables. This said, controlled testing has been tricky. Additionally, there are a number of chemicals in java.
Weaver's team was focused on identifying naturally-occurring small molecules that can "inhibit the aggregation of amyloidogenic proteins." That is, proteins whose build up are believed to be a factor in Alzheimer's.
Ultimately, they found that the absence or presence of caffeine made no difference to the aggregation of the toxic proteins. Also ruled out as being of much use were chlorogenic acids — compounds that account for as much as 15 percent of unroasted beans — as well as quinic acid, caffeic acid, and quercetin.
It’s really about the phenylindanes
Coffee being roasted
When coffee beans are roasted, compounds called phenylindanes are generated. The darker the roast, the more phenylindanes are produced. According to the paper, it is these compounds that inhibit the aggregation of the Alzheimer's inducing tau and amyloid-beta proteins. Weaver admits, "So phenylindanes are a dual inhibitor. Very interesting, we were not expecting that."
What all this means is that if developing a neurodegenerative disease, especially Alzheimer's, is a concern, try switching to as dark a roast of coffee, or even espresso, as you find palatable. Caffeinated or not makes no difference in this regard, though the other effects of caffeine are, of course, a whole other issue.
Also, note that there's no indication that drinking coffee does anything to cure Alzheimer's. It simply seems to help avoid acquiring it.
We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.
- Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
- Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
- Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Facing mounting pressure from the public and government agencies, the e-cigarette maker announced major changes to its business model on Tuesday.
- Juul makes flavored e-cigarettes and currently dominates the vaping industry, with 70% of the market share.
- The FDA is planning to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in gas stations and convenient stores this week.
- Some have called teenage vaping an epidemic. Data from 2018 show that about 20% of high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days.
The lawsuit claims the administration violated the First Amendment when it revoked the press credentials of reporter Jim Acosta.
- CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials were revoked following a heated exchange with President Donald Trump on November 8.
- The network filed a lawsuit against the administration on Tuesday, claiming the administration has violated multiple amendments.
- The White House may only revoke the press credentials of journalists for "compelling reasons," not for reasons involving content.
The new offices will be built in New York's Long Island City and Viriginia's Arlington.
- Amazon will receive more than $2 billion in incentives from the two states.
- The company plans to create a total of 50,000 jobs at an average wage of $150,000.
- The announcement has caused controversy, raising concerns about rising rent prices and potentially lost resources in communities surrounding the upcoming developments.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.