Brains and Caffeine

In “Daily caffeine 'protects brain',” the BBC offers another explanation for my abnormal brain. It’s too bad I’m so queasy around blood and organs; on a purely abstract level I find this kind of biology really interesting. You’ll recall I had previously suggested my brain started acting a little more like the brain of someone with Alzheimer's, a damaged hippocampus, roughly ten years ago. The BBC says:

"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.

This caught my attention. I never drank coffee, but I did stop drinking soft drinks about ten years ago, at the same time I stopped eating meat. In addition to saving money, I always thought this was an obviously healthy thing to do. It would be a sad irony if it actually broke my brain.

On the other hand, Wikipedia’s caffeine article (within an entire section on caffeine and memory) specifically says Researchers have found that long-term consumption of low dose caffeine (0.3 g/L) slowed hippocampus-dependent learning and impaired long-term memory. So the problem could actually be that I still consume too much caffeine, not too little (I eat a lot of chocolate). Sigh. Brains are complicated. Stay tuned for the next episode of “What’s Wrong with Scott’s Brain?”

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