Caffeine Would Likely Reduce Signs Of Dementia And Other Neurodegenerative Disorders

First Posted: Mar 09, 2017 04:27 AM EST

A new study indicates that caffeine and other 23 other compounds could protect against dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders. These compounds could lessen the signs and symptoms of the said diseases.

The findings of the study were printed in the journal Scientific Reports. It was led by researchers from Indiana University. The team discovered that caffeine and other compounds could heighten the production of an enzyme referred to as nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2) that blocks the processes leading to dementia development.

Hui-Chen Lu, the lead author of the study and a Gill Professor in the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, stated that this work could aid further efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain, creating a chemical "blockade" against the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative disorders. It is reported that there are around 47.5 million people living with dementia, in which Alzheimer's disease is the most common one. It is expected that the number will increase more than triple by 2050, according to Medical News Today.

In the study, the researchers examined over 1,280 compounds in the laboratory. The results showed that about 24 compounds have a potential to boost the production of NMNAT2 in the brain. These include the caffeine that is also found to enhance memory function in mice genetically modified to create high levels of misfolded tau proteins.

Other compounds that increase the production of NMNAT2 in the brain are ziprasidone, rolipram, wortmannin, cantharidin and retinoic acid, among others. Lu said that the effect of retinoic acid could be significant since the compound derives from vitamin A. Caffeine or rolipram is the one that increases more the production of NMNAT2 in the brain than other compounds, according to Science Daily.

On the other hand, the team also found that additional 13 compounds identified could lower the production of NMNAT2. Lu said that these compounds are also significant in understanding on how they may contribute to dementia.

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