Coffee-drug for Parkinson’s and dementias?

We have been told the benefits of caffeine (see more info HERE).

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What researchers are finding is that caffeine, the world’s most widely used drug, does more than wake people up. Caffeine is linked to improvements in memory and appears to protect against the destruction of brain cells. One of the results find that people who drank two or more cups of coffee a day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Because of these findings, some companies have been designing drugs to replicate the benefits of caffeine. The challenge is to go beyond the buzz of caffeine to achieve a more powerful effect on the brain — without side effects like headaches, irritability and jitters. But this hasn’t been easy. For example, Merck ended development of such a treatment for Parkinson’s disease last year after late-stage testing suggested it didn’t work. Other developers have postponed plans.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s. Drug developers are focusing on the way caffeine targets sites in an area deep in the brain called the basal ganglia, which is affected by Parkinson’s and plays a key role in movement. The medicines specifically aims to target and block adenosine A2A receptors. The goal of drug-makers is to improve movement in Parkinson’s; existing treatments become less effective over time, and side effects harder to endure.

… what are your thoughts on a “coffee pill” for the brain? Do you consume caffeine? much love.

more information and adapted from: bloom.bg/1gGePNm

Parkinson’s disease… more than a movement disorder.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is more than a movement disorder.

Dementia is one of the things people worry about. And a number of people with PD can develop cognitive changes. I want to stress these are DIFFERENT things.

Dementia is a loss of intellectual function (memory, reason, problem solving, abstract reasoning) which is qualitatively different from a previous state of life. Dementia is chronic and progressive and impairs vocational/social function. *Remember the difference between dementia (the umbrella term) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD – a type of dementia)… read more about that HERE.

Now, AD, a type of dementia, involves the external part of the brain (the wrinkly part!), including the neocortex, and typically presents with memory/learning problems.

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This is different than cognitive changes that occur in PD.

The basal ganglia part of the brain (subcortical – inner part of brain!) is affected in PD. The basal ganglia is not just involved in coordinated movement, but a junction site for some cognitive processing. So, cognitive changes in PD are a bit different – it may includes difficulty learning something, but memory of the material is retained. Cognitive changes include slowness of thought, insight, mental flexibility, attention/focus (vigilance). This is where cueing is helpful to retrieve information and for timing. We also see changes in “executive function” in PD, which basically monitors other processes; it is higher cognitive functioning that controls how we interact in the world (timing, appropriate behaviour, sequencing, tasking).

… does that start to clear these terms up? This is my current area of research focus… specifically the impact of these cognitive changes on caregivers, so lots more to come on this! much love.