Love coffee? A new study by the Institute of Neuroscience of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona shows that a long-term consumption of caffeine has negative effects for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s, in particular anxiety, emotional flexibility and a fear of new things, are worsened by consistent caffeine consumption, the scientists found.
Initially, coffee was thought to improve symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s because of its ability to block adenosine receptors that cause disease and dysfunction during the ageing process. The new study analysed mice with and without Alzheimer’s to reach its conclusion. “The mice develop Alzheimer’s disease in a very close manner to the human patients with an early-onset form of the disease”, says head researcher Raquel Baeta-Corral. “They not only exhibit the typical cognitive problems but also a number of BPSD-like symptoms, so it is a valuable model to address whether the benefits of caffeine will be able to compensate its putative negative effects.”
Researcher and physician at the Karolinska University Hospital Björn Johansson explains how the group then tested long-term caffeine consumption on the model mice. “We simulated a long oral treatment with a very low dose of caffeine (0.3 mg/mL) equivalent to three cups for a human coffee-drinker.” The results revealed that caffeine worsens the neuropsychiatric symptoms of mice with Alzheimer’s disease and changes the behaviour of healthy mice.