Mystery ingredient in coffee helps fight Alzheimer

Updated: Jun 22, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: A new Alzheimer``s study by University of South Florida researchers has found that a yet unidentified component of coffee that interacts with the beverage``s caffeine boosts blood levels of a critical growth factor that seems to fight off the Alzheimer``s disease process.

Using mice bred to develop symptoms mimicking Alzheimer``s disease, the USF team presented the first evidence that a caffeinated coffee offers protection against the memory-robbing disease that is not possible with other caffeine-containing drinks or decaffeinated coffee.

The new study shows that caffeinated coffee induces an increase in blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor). GCSF is a substance greatly decreased in patients with Alzheimer``s disease and demonstrated to improve memory in Alzheimer``s mice.

"Caffeinated coffee provides a natural increase in blood GCSF levels," said USF neuroscientist Dr. Chuanhai Cao, lead author of the study.