Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF study finds component in coffee works with caffeine to protect against Alzheimer's

TAMPA — Recent studies have shown that heavy doses of caffeine might help prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

But rather than guzzling down super-caffeinated drinks such as Red Bull or taking stay-awake caffeine pills such as NoDoz, researchers at the University of South Florida say coffee might be the way to go.

A new study points not to caffeine, but rather an unidentified component in coffee that interacts with caffeine, as a potential weapon against the memory-robbing disease that afflicts more than 5 million Americans.

Using mice bred to develop Alzheimer's symptoms, the USF researchers found that caffeinated coffee causes an increase in blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF, or granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. GCSF is a substance that is greatly decreased in patients with Alzheimer's, and it also has been demonstrated to improve memory in Alzheimer's mice. In the study, the researchers compared effects of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee and caffeine alone. Only the caffeinated coffee — and they used drip coffee, not instant — stimulated GCSF.

USF researchers say the findings, which will appear in the June 28 Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, provide the first evidence that caffeinated coffee offers protection against Alzheimer's that is not possible with other caffeine-containing drinks.

"Caffeinated coffee provides a natural increase in blood GCSF levels," said Dr. Chuanhai Cao of the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute, a lead author of the study. But, "the exact ways that this occurs is not understood."

The researchers hope to identify the component so coffee and other caffeinated beverages could be enriched with it to provide protection against the disease.

The USF study involved mice, and mouse research results do not always pan out in humans. But previous observational studies in humans have reported that daily coffee or other caffeine intake during midlife and older age decreases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Cao said work has begun to identify the component in coffee, but that it could take a year or more.

Richard Martin can be reached at or (813) 226-3322.

USF study finds component in coffee works with caffeine to protect against Alzheimer's 06/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 4:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.