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Caffeine, could it help with MS?

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  • Caffeine, could it help with MS?

    The following story came across my desk. I wouldn't start drinking 50 cups of coffee a day, but there may be some potential that caffeine could help with MS. Although it is important to note that mouse successes are a far, far, cry from successful human tests.

    Food as Medicine?

    By Kathleen Doheny
    HealthDay Reporter
    Tuesday, April 8, 2008; 12:00 AM

    TUESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Caffeine, green tea and tart cherries may guard against multiple sclerosis, cancer and cardiovascular troubles, respectively, new research suggests.

    All three findings, which confirm the healthy properties of these foods, were presented this week at the Experimental Biology 2008 meeting in San Diego.

    Caffeine appears to help ward off multiple sclerosis, at least in a preliminary animal study. Mice given caffeine were 75 percent less likely to develop the animal model of MS than those not given it, said study senior author Dr. Margaret Bynoe, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, in Ithaca, N.Y.

    "The 25 percent who got it got mild cases," she said, although she noted the research is preliminary and the trials were in mice that had the animal model of MS.

    MS is a debilitating autoimmune disease, and about 400,000 Americans are affected, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin, the fatty sheath that protects the nerve fibers in the central nervous system.

    The myelin, as it is damaged, forms scar tissue that prevents or hinders nerve impulses from getting through, leading to a variety of symptoms such as numbness in the limbs or loss of vision. Treatments include medications, physical therapy and the use of assistive devices.

    Why does caffeine help?

    Caffeine is known to block a compound called adenosine. "Inhibiting adenosine prevents the infiltration of lymphocytes [a type of white blood cell involved in immune system response] into the central nervous system," Bynoe explained. "If the lymphocytes cannot get in, you cannot get the inflammation characteristic of MS. The inflammatory response is what causes the damage to the myelin covering the nerve cells."

    Bynoe believes her team is the first to demonstrate this mechanism.

    In the animals given caffeine, the equivalent of 6 to 8 cups of coffee a day for humans, "there was a reduction in the inflammation, the pathology, a reduction in the brain pathology," Bynoe said.

    Adenosine plays a crucial role in many body processes, including energy transfer, the promotion of sleep and the suppression of arousal. On the cellular level, caffeine can bind to the same receptors as adenosine, preventing the adenosine from attaching to cells in the central nervous system.

    The new finding is "certainly deserving of further study," said Dr. John Richert, executive vice president of research and clinical programs for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

    But he had a caveat: "It's important to note that EAE [the animal model of MS] is not MS, and many potential treatments that have worked on EAE have not worked on MS."
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2

    I found this also saw this info on caffiene and MS .. and as with all else moderation until proven true is the way I approach most of these kinds of studies .. was never one to run out and rush to get n a bandwagon, except when I was in band .. lol .. so much info has come out in sound bites recently that it is hard to determine anything ..

    My feeling is that this kind of info should not be announced until the researchers are certain of what they are doing .. in my own "research" I have read plenty of info from people who use treatments and still find they are no better , and some get worse ...

    Maybe I am alone in feeling this way, but I prefer the wait and see , just like buying a new fancy toy, let the bugs work themselves out and then maybe try one ...

    Wonder what others think ??



    • #3
      I could think of worse things I should do to reduce the effects of my MS on me



      • #4

        another reason to have that starbucks Iced vente mocha with whip, EVERYDAY!!! sure makes me feel better!!!


        • #5

          on my whole COUNTRY.... there is only one!!! starbucks.

          at Schiphol airport.....

          now I know Holland isn't the biggest country in the world...but still...

          greetings, Angela


          • #6
            1 per block

            Angela in Manhattan there is a STARBUKS every 150 feet, tell me what you want and I will overnight it to you....