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Alzheimer’s Society comment on new research suggesting caffeine may help reduce Alzheimer’s disease

Published 3 April 2008

This is the best evidence yet that caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee a day can help protect the brain against cholesterol.

It sheds important light on why previous research has shown drinking coffee may reducing the risk of dementia.

In addition to its effect on the vascular system, elevated cholesterol levels also cause problems with the blood brain barrier. This barrier, which protects the brain from toxins and infections, is less efficient prior to brain damage caused by Alzheimer's disease or strokes.

This research in animals shows that caffeine can help keep the blood brain barrier in good order, even with a diet rich in cholesterol.  More research is now needed to determine whether drinking coffee has the same impact on the blood brain barrier in people and can help protect people against dementia.

Dr Susanne Sorensen
Head of research