Thursday, April 03, 2008

Are the New Healthy Food Manifestos Promoting Brain Rot?

I'll be the first in line to say that I want kids to have healthy food alternatives at school. But recently that pendulum has swung to a statewide ban of caffeinated drinks in vending machines and on school grounds. Chocolate is another contraband item.

Here in 'Daily caffeine 'protects brain' from BBC news, is yet another study of caffeine that suggests its good for people - especially those who want to keep their brain from getting diseased.

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.

'Safe drug'

"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."

A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Disease Society said that the study shed "important light" on why previous research had showed benefits for drinking coffee.

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

"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."

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