Coffee shown to prevent brain damage in diabetics
LONDON, May 10 — Researchers in Portugal have found that the consumption of caffeine could protect against memory loss associated with advanced diabetes.
It’s an area of study that’s not well developed, say scientists from the University of Coimbra: how badly managed type 2 diabetes — which accounts for 90 per cent of all diabetic cases in the world — affects the brain, causing memory loss and learning problems.
After observing the effects of type 2 diabetes in mice, researchers found that the neurodegeneration caused by the chronic illness exhibited the same stages of several other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
For their study, released this week and published on PLoS One, researchers compared four groups of mice: diabetics, normal, with and without caffeine.
The results showed that pumping caffeine — equal to eight cups of coffee a day — in the diabetic mice accomplished several things: reduced weight gain, lowered blood sugar levels and prevented memory loss specifically in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that often atrophies in diabetics.
Mice with type 2 diabetes exhibited abnormalities in their synapses which facilitates communication between neurons, and astrogliosis, a phenomenon in which there’s an abnormal increase of cells surrounding neurons.
But mice fed a diet high in caffeine fared better than their counterparts suffering from less brain damage, a finding that could have wider implications in the treatment of other cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Despite the findings, researchers stopped short of advising people to drink eight cups of coffee a day.
Said researcher Rodrigo Cunha in a statement: “Indeed, the dose of caffeine shown to be effective is just too excessive. All we can take from here is that a moderate consumption of caffeine should afford a moderate benefit, but still a benefit.”
Meanwhile, a 2010 study also found that caffeinated products like coffee and tea could likewise help prevent the onset of diabetes, after the mice in the their experiment developed better insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. — AFP-Relaxnews