As part of a German-French research project, a team led by Christa Müller from the Univ. of Bonn and David Blum from the Univ. of Lille was able to demonstrate for the first time that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits in Alzheimer’s disease. The two-year project was supported with 30,000 Euro from the non-profit Alzheimer Forschung Initiative e.V. (AFI) and with 50,000 Euro from the French Partner organization LECMA.
Tau deposits, along with beta-amyloid plaques, are among the characteristic features of Alzheimer’s disease. These protein deposits disrupt the communication of the nerve cells in the brain and contribute to their degeneration. Despite intensive research there is no drug available to date which can prevent this detrimental process. Based on the results of Müller, Blum and their team, a new class of drugs may now be developed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine — restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping — are well known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. Now, researchers report in the ACS journal Inorganic Chemistry that combining a caffeine-based compound with a small amount of gold could someday be used as an anticancer agent.
Caffeine Addiction is Widespread, Under-Scrutinized
"I’m a zombie without my morning coffee." "My blood type is Diet Coke." "Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin." Most people make jokes like these about needing a daily boost from their favorite caffeinated beverage — whether first thing in the morning or to prevent the after-lunch slump.
But a recent study coauthored by American Univ. psychology professor Laura Juliano indicates that more people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms and are unable to reduce caffeine consumption — even if they have another condition that may be impacted by caffeine such as a pregnancy, a heart condition, or a bleeding disorder — than believed.
For some, it’s the tradition of steeping tealeaves to brew the perfect cup of tea. For others, it’s the morning shuffle to a coffee maker for a hot jolt of java. Then there are those who like their wake up with the kind of snap and a fizz usually found in a carbonated beverage.
Regardless of the routine, the consumption of caffeine is the energy boost of choice for millions to wake up or stay up. Now, however, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Univ. have found another use for the stimulant: memory enhancer.
Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study was published online in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
“Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,” says lead researcher Michel Lucas, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.
Researcher Says Caffeine Withdrawal is a Mental Disorder
The inclusion of caffeine withdrawal in the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has been widely questioned, since most adults consume caffeine in the form of coffee, tea and cola drinks without experiencing any negative side effects. While caffeine withdrawal is most often fleeting and relatively mild, neurobiologist José Lemos, from the Univ. of Massachusetts, believes it is a very real condition that can negatively impact a person’s ability to function, albeit for a short time, and therefore warrants inclusion in the DSM.
Looking for a new way to get that jolt of caffeine energy? Food companies are betting snacks like potato chips, jelly beans and gum with a caffeinated kick could be just the answer.
The Food and Drug Administration is closely watching the marketing of these foods and wants to know more about their safety. The FDA says it will look at the foods’ effects on children in response to a caffeinated gum introduced this week by Wrigley. Alert Energy Gum promises “the right energy, right now.”
Researchers from the Univ. of Alberta are abuzz after using fruit flies to find new ways of taking advantage of caffeine’s lethal effects on cancer cells — results that could one day be used to advance cancer therapies for people.
Previous research has established that caffeine interferes with processes in cancer cells that control DNA repair, a finding that has generated interest in using the stimulant as a chemotherapy treatment. But given the toxic nature of caffeine at high doses, researchers from the faculties of medicine and dentistry and science instead opted to use it to identify genes and pathways responsible for DNA repair.
Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that — literally. Their report in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology describes bacteria being “addicted” to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of wastewater to bioproduction of medications for asthma.
You may need a cup of coffee to kick start the day but it seems honeybees also get their buzz from drinking flower nectar containing caffeine.
Publishing in Science, researchers have shown that caffeine improves a honeybee’s memory and could help the plant recruit more bees to spread its pollen. In tests honeybees feeding on a sugar solution containing caffeine, which occurs naturally in the nectar of coffee and citrus flowers, were three times more likely to remember a flower’s scent than those feeding on just sugar.
A new government survey suggests the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks has doubled nationwide during the past four years, the same period in which the supercharged drink industry has surged in popularity in convenience stores, bars and on college campuses.
From 2007 to 2011, the government estimates the number of emergency room visits involving the neon-labeled beverages shot up from about 10,000 to more than 20,000. Most of those cases involved teens or young adults, according to a survey of the nation’s hospitals released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Caffeinated Coffee Significantly Lowers Risk of Oral Cancer
A new American Cancer Society study finds a strong inverse association between caffeinated coffee intake and oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. The authors say people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of these often fatal cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee. The study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors say more research is needed to elucidate the biologic mechanisms that could be at work.
Previous epidemiologic studies have suggested that coffee intake is associated with reduced risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer. To explore the finding further, researchers examined associations of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea intake with fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II, a prospective U.S. cohort study begun in 1982 by the American Cancer Society.
The highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drink has been cited in five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack, according to reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating. The reports claim that people had adverse reactions after they consumed Monster Energy Drink, which comes in 24-ounce cans and contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, or seven times the amount of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cola.
Although the FDA is investigating the allegations, which date back to 2004, the agency says the reports don’t necessarily prove that the drinks caused the deaths or injuries. “As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives, we take them very seriously and investigate diligently,” Shelly Burgess, a FDA spokeswoman says.
A new study suggests caffeinated coffee drinkers should limit their intake to reduce their chances of developing vision loss or blindness. According to a scientific paper in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, heavy caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, the leading cause of secondary glaucoma worldwide.
The study is the first to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S. –based population.