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Why Coffee-Drinkers & Smokers Are Less Likely to Develop Parkinson Disease

Cofee & CigarettesIn a new investigation, researchers found that coffee and cigarettes could protect the brain of flies with a form of Parkinson’s disease, but the benefit was not so evident because of caffeine and nicotine. Leo Pallanck, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle declared that if they could identify the components that put up this brain protection, they could offer a preventive Parkinson’s treatment where none at present exists.

“We think that there’s something else in coffee and tobacco that is really very important. A lot of the field has gravitated to the idea that it is caffeine and nicotine that protects their brains,” said Pallanck.

To see if ingredients other than caffeine and nicotine might be providing the benefit, Pallanck and his team turned to fruit flies with a condition similar to Parkinson’s disease. The flies have mutations that kill off dopamine-producing neurons, which cause them to develop movement and cognitive problems like those characteristic of Parkinson’s in people. The same mutations are linked to hereditary forms of Parkinson’s in humans.

So, the researchers prepared some and different fly foods spiced up with normal coffee, decaffeinated coffee, smokeless tobacco designed to allow nicotine absorption via the mouth, or a commercial nicotine-free tobacco. Then the researchers raised groups of flies on the various diets. Ordinarily, dopamine-producing neurons in the mutant flies die off as they age.

They observed then that a diet featuring coffee and tobacco kept the neurons alive in all the flies tested at 20 days old, whether or not their food contained caffeine or nicotine. In addition, when pure caffeine or nicotine were added to the meals of other groups of flies, their dopamine neurons died off – just like those of flies whose food had no additive at all.

“We didn’t see any safety effects at all of caffeine and nicotine,” declared Pallanck. His team went on to determine a compound found in both decaf and normal coffee called cafestol that seems partially responsible for its neuro-protective effects.

They found that Cafestol activates a protein produced by flies called Nrf2, and they also observed that blocking Nrf2 diminished coffee’s protective effect on dopamine neurons. Blocking Nrf2 in flies fed tobacco also reduced its protective effects. And after these findings researchers are searching for tobacco ingredients that activate Nrf2 – and other ones that do the same in coffee. Researchers concluded that these compounds might one day be given to people to protect against Parkinson’s.


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Jessica Miller is a professional author of many tobacco articles, trained seminars from New York to London contributing to the success of this area in the U.S. At present writes about everything that is interesting especially about cheap cigarettes online store, tobacco related subjects and cigarette effects.


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