Caffeine has been shown to reverse memory impairment in aged mice bred to develop Alzheimer's symptoms.
When given the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day, the abnormal levels of protein linked to Alzheimer's disease were significantly decreased, the research states.
Carried out by University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, the studies build on previous ones that demonstrated how caffeine in early adulthood can prevent the onset of memory problems in mice bred to develop dementia symptoms.
"Caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process," commented lead author Gary Arendash.
The study suggests caffeine could be used as a treatment option, as well as protective strategy, he added.
Previous research has also suggested that coffee can cut the risk of dementia - by blocking the damage inflicted by cholesterol.
The University of North Dakota revealed that rabbits on a high cholesterol diet that had also been given caffeine showed a more protected blood-brain barrier - protecting the central nervous system from harmful chemicals.
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