Studies highlight positive effects of caffeine on brain health

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Caffeine helps us stay alert. Research suggests it also could slow the progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

In a new collection of studies from around the world on the effects of caffeine on cognitive decline, a number of researchers present evidence of the drug's ability to slow the progression of these two diseases, as well as a number of other benefits. Here are some of the findings from the 22 new studies: Moderate caffeine intake could provide therapeutic potential for humans, caffeine was associated with lower cognitive decline in women than in men, and caffeine helps reduce the production of amyloid-beta, which is associated with Alzheimer's. Many of the studies used animal models in the tests.

The studies appear in a special supplement to the recent edition of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, "Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases."