Coffee Could Prevent Multiple Sclerosis

A study found that caffeine can protect brain cells from damage in multiple sclerosis. The findings of the study conducted on mice by the scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will be published in the July 8 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the results have already been presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunologists in San Diego, which took place this year in April.

According to the findings caffeine blocks the development of multiple sclerosis MS, by blocking a compound called adenosine, which led to the protection of brain cells from immune system which destroys the protective coating that surround the nerve cells, myelin. Mice given equivalent of six to eight cups coffee a day were found to be less likely to develop a disease similar to MS. This has given hope in finding new ways to prevent MS in humans.

At this moment treatment can only slow the progress of MS once it is established.  Researchers at Cornell University in the US, and Turku University in Finland, are using a disease affecting mice called "experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis", or EAE, to try to replicate the development of MS in humans. "If you found a correlation between caffeine intake and reduced MS symptoms, that would point to further studies in humans,” said Dr. Linda Thompson who led the study. However, even if established to be correct six to eight cups of coffee were above the limit set by the Department of Health and possibly not a good way to prevent MS

A spokesman for the MS Society said "Over the years there have been numerous discoveries that have prevented EAE in mice but turning this into effective therapies for humans remains a challenge. Based on the results of this study, we wouldn't advise people to change their caffeine intake."

Too much coffee might be physically addictive, and could worsen control of type II diabetes, a disease far more common in older people.