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Thursday, April 3rd 2008

Caffeine For Me

Well, at least we know my dependence on caffeine is doing me some good.

A vital barrier between the brain and the main blood supply of rabbits fed a fat-rich diet was protected in those given a caffeine supplement.

The University of North Dakota study used the equivalent to just one daily cup of coffee in their experiments on rabbits.

After 12 weeks of a high-cholesterol diet, the blood brain barrier in those given caffeine was far more intact than in those given no caffeine.

“Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky,” said Dr Jonathan Geiger, who led the study.

“High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps by compromising the protective nature of the blood brain barrier.

“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.”

All the cola, coffee and energy drinks I gulp are probably doing me a some bad as well.

While I’ve posted on and linked to some of the risks of caffeine, the drug actually has a lot of upside. Despite common misconception it is not apparently linked to heart attacks (or other heart problems) and actually is relatively safe. On the plus side it may have some neuroprotective effects, and it improves people’s memory.

Hooray for caffeine.

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