Volume 20, Supplement 1, 2010 - "Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases" (Guest Editors: Alexandre de Mendonša and Rodrigo A. Cunha)

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Pages 1-2
Editorial

Rodrigo A. Cunha, Alexandre de Mendonça

Pages 3-15
Review

Joaquim A. Ribeiro and Ana M. Sebastião
Caffeine and Adenosine
Abstract: Caffeine causes most of its biological effects via antagonizing all types of adenosine receptors (ARs): A1, A2A, A3, and A2B and, as does adenosine, exerts effects on neurons and glial cells of all brain areas. In consequence, caffeine, when acting as an AR antagonist, is doing the opposite of activation of adenosine receptors due to removal of endogenous adenosinergic tonus. Besides AR antagonism, xanthines, including caffeine, have other biological actions: they inhibit phosphodiesterases (PDEs) (e.g., PDE1, PDE4, PDE5), promote calcium release from intracellular stores, and interfere with GABA-A receptors. Caffeine, through antagonism of ARs, affects brain functions such as sleep, cognition, learning, and memory, and modifies brain dysfunctions and diseases: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Epilepsy, Pain/Migraine, Depression, Schizophrenia. In conclusion, targeting approaches that involve ARs will enhance the possibilities to correct brain dysfunctions, via the universally consumed substance that is caffeine.

Pages 17-24
Review

Jiang-Fan Chen, Liqun Yu, Hai-Ying Shen, Jin-Cai He, Xiaotong Wang and Rongyuan Zheng
What Knock-Out Animals Tell Us About the Effects of Caffeine
Abstract: Caffeine is well known for its complex pharmacological actions, in part reflecting the multiple molecular targets of caffeine. The adenosine receptors are the primary extracellular targets of caffeine. Since caffeine has similar affinity for several adenosine receptors, it has been difficult to determine which receptor subtypes mediate caffeine’s effects using pharmacological tools. The development of genetic mutant mice deficient in adenosine receptors and other signaling molecules has allowed targeted inquiry into the molecular targets by which caffeine elicits its biological effects on behavior and gene expression. This review summarizes recent work using genetic knockout models to elucidate the mechanisms of caffeine action in the brain. This review focuses on insights on caffeine action from genetic knockout models on: (1) the molecular basis for caffeine’s effects on psychomotor activity; (2) the involvement of adenosine receptors in caffeine-mediated arousal and cognitive effects; and (3) a novel approach using knockout animals coupled with microarray profiling to validate multiple molecular targets of caffeine in striatal gene expression.

Pages 25-34
Review
Ana Rita Costenla, Rodrigo A. Cunha, Alexandre de Mendonça
Caffeine, Adenosine Receptors, and Synaptic Plasticity
Abstract: Few studies to date have looked at the effects of caffeine on synaptic plasticity, and those that did used very high concentrations of caffeine, whereas the brain concentrations attained by regular coffee consumption in humans should be in the low micromolar range, where caffeine exerts pharmacological actions mainly by antagonizing adenosine receptors. Accordingly, rats drinking caffeine (1 g/L) for 3 weeks, displayed a concentration of caffeine of circa 22 µM in the hippocampus. It is known that selective adenosine A1 receptor antagonists facilitate, whereas selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonists attenuate, long term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. Although caffeine is a non-selective antagonist of adenosine receptors, it attenuates frequency-induced LTP in hippocampal slices in a manner similar to selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonists. These effects of low micromolar concentration of caffeine (30 µM) are maintained in aged animals, which is important when a possible beneficial effect for caffeine in age-related cognitive decline is proposed. Future studies will still be required to confirm and detail the involvement of A1 and A2A receptors in the effects of caffeine on hippocampal synaptic plasticity, using both pharmacological and genetic approaches.

Pages 35-49
Review

Sergi Ferré
Role of the Central Ascending Neurotransmitter Systems in the Psychostimulant Effects of Caffeine
Abstract: Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive drug in the world. It is a non-selective adenosine receptor antagonist that in the brain targets mainly adenosine A1 and A2A receptors. The same as classical psychostimulants, caffeine produces motor-activating, reinforcing and arousing effects. This depends on the ability of caffeine to counteract multiple effects of adenosine in the central ascending neurotransmitter systems. Motor and reinforcing effects depend on the ability of caffeine to release pre- and postsynaptic brakes that adenosine imposes on the ascending dopaminergic system. By targeting A1-A2A receptor heteromers in striatal glutamatergic terminals and A1 receptors in striatal dopaminergic terminals (presynaptic brake), caffeine induces glutamate-dependent and glutamate-independent release of dopamine. These presynaptic effects of caffeine are potentiated by the release of the postsynaptic brake imposed by antagonistic interactions in the striatal A2A-D2 and A1-D1 receptor heteromers. Arousing effects of caffeine depend on the blockade of multiple inhibitory mechanisms that adenosine, as an endogenous sleep-promoting substance, exerts on the multiply interconnected ascending arousal systems. Those mechanisms include a direct A1-receptor mediated modulation of the corticopetal basal forebrain system and an indirect A2A-receptor mediated modulation of the hypothalamic histaminergic and orexinergic systems.

Pages 51-62
Review

Dale A. Pelligrino, Hao-Liang Xu and Francesco Vetri
Caffeine and the Control of Cerebral Hemodynamics
Abstract: While the influence of caffeine on the regulation of brain perfusion has been the subject of multiple publications, the mechanisms involved in that regulation remain unclear. To some extent, that uncertainty is a function of a complex interplay of processes arising from multiple targets of caffeine located on a variety of different cells, many of which have influence, either directly or indirectly, on cerebral vascular smooth muscle tone. Adding to that complexity are the target-specific functional changes that may occur when comparing acute and chronic caffeine exposure. In the present review, we discuss some of the mechanisms behind caffeine influences on cerebrovascular function. The major effects of caffeine on the cerebral circulation can largely be ascribed to its inhibitory effects on adenosine receptors. Herein, we focus mostly on the A1, A2A, and A2B subtypes located in cells comprising the neurovascular unit (neurons, astrocytes, vascular smooth muscle); their roles in the coupling of increased neuronal (synaptic) activity to vasodilation; how caffeine, through blockade of these receptors, may interfere with the “neurovascular coupling” process; and receptor-linked changes that may occur in cerebrovascular regulation when comparing acute to chronic caffeine intake.

Pages 63-69
Mamede de Carvalho, Erica Marcelino, Alexandre de Mendonça
Electrophysiological Studies in Healthy Subjects Involving Caffeine
Abstract: We review the electrophysiological studies concerning the effects of caffeine on muscle, lower and upper motor neuron excitability and cognition. Several different methods have been used, such as electromyography, recruitment analysis, H-reflex, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography and event-related potentials. The positive effect of caffeine on vigilance, attention, speed of reaction, information processing and arousal is supported by a number of electrophysiological studies. The evidence in favor of an increased muscle fiber resistance is not definitive, but higher or lower motor neuron excitability can occur as a consequence of a greater excitation of the descending input from the brainstem and upper motor neurons. TMS can address the influence of caffeine on the upper motor neuron. Previous studies showed that cortico-motor threshold and intracortical excitatory and inhibitory pathways are not influenced by caffeine. Nonetheless, our results indicate that cortical silent period (CSP) is reduced in resting muscles after caffeine consumption, when stimulating the motor cortex with intensities slightly above threshold. We present new data demonstrating that this effect is also observed in fatigued muscle. We conclude that CSP can be considered a surrogate marker of the effect of caffeine in the brain, in particular of its central ergogenic effect.

Pages 71-84
Review

Florian Koppelstaetter*, Thorsten D. Poeppel*, Christian M. Siedentopf, Anja Ischebeck, Christian Kolbitsch, Felix M. Mottaghy, Stephan R. Felber, Werner R. Jaschke, Bernd J. Krause *Authors contributed equally
Caffeine and Cognition in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Abstract: Caffeine has been consumed since ancient times due to its beneficial effects on attention, psychomotor function, and memory. Caffeine exerts its action mainly through an antagonism of cerebral adenosine receptors, although there are important secondary effects on other neurotransmitter systems. Recently, functional MRI (fMRI) entered the field of neuropharmacology to explore the intracerebral sites and mechanisms of action of pharmacological agents. However, as caffeine possesses vasoconstrictive properties it may interfere with the mechanisms underlying the functional contrast in fMRI. Yet, only a limited number of studies dealt with the effect of caffeine on measures in fMRI. Even fewer neuroimaging studies examined the effects that caffeine exerts on cognition: Portas and colleagues used fMRI in an attentional task under different levels of arousal (sleep deprivation or caffeine administration), concluding that the thalamus is involved in mediating the interaction of attention and arousal. Bendlin and colleagues found caffeine to stabilize the extent of neuronal activation in repetitive word stem completion, counteracting the general task practice effect. Recently, Koppelstaetter and colleagues assessed the effect of caffeine on verbal working memory demonstrating a modulatory effect of caffeine on brain regions (medial frontopolar and anterior cingulate cortex) that have been associated with attentional and executive functions. This review surveys and discusses neuroimaging findings on 1) how caffeine affects the contrast underlying fMRI techniques, particularly the blood oxygen level dependent contrast (BOLD fMRI), and 2) how caffeine operates on neuronal activity underlying cognition, to understand the effect of caffeine on behavior and its neurobiological underpinnings.

Pages 85-94
Review

Astrid Nehlig
Is Caffeine a Cognitive Enhancer?
Abstract: The effects of caffeine on cognition were reviewed based on the large body of literature available on the topic. Caffeine does not usually affect performance in learning and memory tasks, although caffeine may occasionally have facilitatory or inhibitory effects on memory and learning. Caffeine facilitates learning in tasks in which information is presented passively; in tasks in which material is learned intentionally, caffeine has no effect. Caffeine facilitates performance in tasks involving working memory to a limited extent, but hinders performance in tasks that heavily depend on working memory, and caffeine appears to rather improve memory performance under suboptimal alertness conditions. Most studies, however, found improvements in reaction time. The ingestion of caffeine does not seem to affect long-term memory. At low doses, caffeine improves hedonic tone and reduces anxiety, while at high doses, there is an increase in tense arousal, including anxiety, nervousness, jitteriness. The larger improvement of performance in fatigued subjects confirms that caffeine is a mild stimulant. Caffeine has also been reported to prevent cognitive decline in healthy subjects but the results of the studies are heterogeneous, some finding no age-related effect while others reported effects only in one sex and mainly in the oldest population. In conclusion, it appears that caffeine cannot be considered a ‘pure’ cognitive enhancer. Its indirect action on arousal, mood and concentration contributes in large part to its cognitive enhancing properties.

Pages 95-116
Review

Rodrigo A. Cunha, Paula M. Agostinho
Chronic Caffeine Consumption Prevents Memory Disturbance in Different Animal Models of Memory Decline
Abstract: Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug, enhancing attention/vigilance and stabilizing mood, and might also independently enhance cognitive performance. Notably, caffeine displays clearer and more robust beneficial effects on memory performance when memory is perturbed by stressful or noxious stimuli either in human or animal studies. Thus, caffeine restores memory performance in sleep-deprived or aged human individuals, a finding replicated in rodent animal models. Likewise, in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), caffeine alleviates memory dysfunction, which is in accordance with the tentative inverse correlation between caffeine intake and the incidence of AD in different (but not all) cohorts. Caffeine also affords beneficial effects in animal models of conditions expected to impair memory performance such as Parkinson’s disease, chronic stress, type 2 diabetes, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, early life convulsions, or alcohol-induced amnesia. Thus, caffeine should not be viewed as a cognitive enhancer but instead as a cognitive normalizer. Interestingly, these beneficial effects of caffeine on stress-induced memory disturbance are mimicked by antagonists of adenosine A2A receptors. This prominent role of A2A receptors in preventing memory deterioration is probably related to the synaptic localization of this receptor in limbic areas and its ability to control glutamatergic transmission, especially NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity, and to control apoptosis, brain metabolism, and the burden of neuroinflammation. This opens the real and exciting possibility that caffeine consumption might be a prophylactic strategy and A2A receptor antagonists may be a novel therapeutic option to manage memory dysfunction both in AD and in other chronic neurodegenerative disorders where memory deficits occur.

Pages 117-126
Gary W. Arendash, Chuanhai Cao
Caffeine and Coffee as Therapeutics Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Epidemiologic studies have increasingly suggested that caffeine/coffee could be an effective therapeutic against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We have utilized a transgenic mouse model for AD in well-controlled studies to determine if caffeine and/or coffee have beneficial actions to protect against or reverse AD-like cognitive impairment and AD pathology. AD mice given caffeine in their drinking water from young adulthood into older age showed protection against memory impairment and lower brain levels of the abnormal protein (amyloid-β; Aβ) thought to be central to AD pathogenesis. Moreover, “aged” cognitively-impaired AD mice exhibited memory restoration and lower brain Aβ levels following only 1-2 months of caffeine treatment. We believe that the cognitive benefits of chronic caffeine administration in AD mice are due to caffeine itself, and not metabolites of caffeine; this, because our long-term administration of theophylline to AD mice provided no cognitive benefits. In acute studies involving AD mice, one oral caffeine treatment quickly reduced both brain and plasma Aβ levels—similarly rapid alterations in plasma Aβ levels were seen in humans following acute caffeine administration. “Caffeinated” coffee provided to AD mice also quickly decreased plasma Aβ levels, but not “decaffeinated” coffee, suggesting that caffeine is critical to decreasing blood Aβ levels. Caffeine appears to provide its disease-modifying effects through multiple mechanisms, including a direct reduction of Aβ production through suppression of both β- and γ-secretase levels. These results indicate a surprising ability of moderate caffeine intake (the human equivalent of 500 mg caffeine or 5 cups of coffee per day) to protect against or treat AD in a mouse model for the disease and a therapeutic potential for caffeine against AD in humans.

Pages 127-141
Review

Xuesong Chen, Othman Ghribi and Jonathan D. Geiger
Caffeine Protects Against Disruptions of the Blood-Brain Barrier in Animal Models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
Abstract: Sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and as such they represent major public health problems. Finding effective treatments for AD and PD represents an unmet and elusive goal largely because these diseases are chronic and progressive, and have a complicated and ill-understood pathogenesis. Although the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, caffeine, the most commonly ingested psychoactive drug in the world, has been shown in human and animal studies to be protective against AD and PD. One mechanism implicated in the pathogenesis of AD and PD is blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and we reported recently that caffeine exerts protective effects against AD and PD at least in part by keeping the BBB intact. The present review focuses on the role of BBB dysfunction in the pathogenesis of AD and PD, caffeine’s protective effects against AD and PD, and potential mechanisms whereby caffeine protects against BBB leakage.

Pages 143-150
Review

Geert Jan Biessels
Caffeine, Diabetes, Cognition, and Dementia
Abstract: People with diabetes mellitus are at increased risk of cognitive dysfunction. This review explores the relation between caffeine intake, diabetes, cognition and dementia, focusing on type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Epidemiological studies on caffeine/coffee and T2DM risk are reviewed. Next, the impact of T2DM on cognition is addressed. Finally, the potential for caffeine to modulate the risk of cognitive decline in the context of diabetes is explored. The conclusion is that, although epidemiological studies indicate that coffee/caffeine consumption is associated with a decreased risk of T2DM and possibly also with a decreased dementia risk, we can at present not be certain that these associations are causal. For now, recommendations for coffee consumption in individuals with T2DM or pre-diabetic stages are therefore difficult to establish, but it should be acknowledged that caffeine does appear to have several properties that warrant further investigations in this field.

Pages 151-159
Janet Kyle, Helen C. Fox and Lawrence J. Whalley
Caffeine, Cognition, and Socioeconomic Status
Abstract: There is interest in age-related cognitive decline and environmental risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This interest is focused on individual differences in exposure to agents that may harm or protect cognitive function. Caffeine is used as a short acting mental stimulant and may possess longer-term properties that protect against age-related decline and, possibly, AD. The current study aimed to: 1) examine current cognitive function in a narrow age range sample (N=351) without dementia (MMSE>25) who are, by reason of age, entering the period of increased risk of AD; and 2) link cognitive function to self-reported intake of caffeine and socioeconomic status (SES). Possible confounding by gender, childhood intelligence, education, and symptoms of anxiety and depression was introduced into the statistical model. There were significant differences between SES groups in caffeine intake (p<0.05) and cognitive performance (p<0.001). Higher quartiles of caffeine intake were associated with slower digit symbol speed (F=3.38, p<0.02) but this finding was removed after allowing for SES. The results are discussed in terms of the withdrawal effects of caffeine during cognitive testing and strong links between SES and cognitive performance. No evidence in support of cognitive enhancing effects of caffeine was found.

Pages 161-166
Karen Ritchie, Sylvaine Artero, Florence Portet, Adam Brickman, Jordan Muraskin, Ephrem Beanino, Marie-Laure Ancelin, Isabelle Carrière
Caffeine, Cognitive Functioning, and White Matter Lesions in the Elderly: Establishing Causality from Epidemiological Evidence
Abstract: The present study examines the epidemiological evidence for a causal relationship between caffeine consumption and cognitive deterioration in the elderly. Using a population of 641 elderly persons, we examined cognitive functioning, caffeine consumption, magnetic resonance imaging volumetrics, and other factors known to affect cognitive performance. Our findings demonstrate the association between caffeine consumption and lower cognitive change over time to be statistically significant for women only, taking into account multiple confounders, to be dose-dependent and temporarily related (caffeine consumption precedes cognitive change). Mean log transformed white matter lesion/cranial volume ratios were found to be significantly lower in women consuming more than 3 units of caffeine per day after adjustment for age (-1.23 SD=0.06) than in women consuming 2-3 units (-1.04 SD=0.04) or one unit or less (-1.04 SD=0.07, -35% in cm3 compared to low drinkers). This observation is coherent with biological assumptions that caffeine through adenosine is linked to amyloid accumulation and subsequently white matter lesion formation. The significant relationship observed between caffeine intake in women and lower cognitive decline is highly likely to be a true causal relationship and not a spurious association.

Pages 167-174
Marjo H. Eskelinen, Miia Kivipelto
Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Caffeine has well-known short-term stimulating effects on central nervous system, but the long-term impacts on cognition have been less clear. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are rapidly increasing public health problems in ageing populations and at the moment curative treatment is lacking. Thus, the putative protective effects of caffeine against dementia/AD are of great interest. Here, we discuss findings from the longitudinal epidemiological studies about caffeine/coffee/tea and dementia/AD/cognitive functioning with a special emphasis on our recent results from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study. The findings of the previous studies are somewhat inconsistent, but most studies (3 out of 5) support coffee’s favorable effects against cognitive decline, dementia or AD. In addition, two studies had combined coffee and tea drinking and indicated some positive effects on cognitive functioning. For tea drinking, protective effects against cognitive decline/dementia are still less evident. In the CAIDE study, coffee drinking of 3-5 cups per day at midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65% at late-life. In conclusion, coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD. This may be mediated by caffeine and/or other mechanisms like antioxidant capacity and increased insulin sensitivity. This finding might open possibilities for prevention or postponing the onset of dementia/AD.

Pages 175-185
Catarina Santos, Nuno Lunet, Ana Azevedo, Alexandre de Mendonça, Karen Ritchie, Henrique Barros
Caffeine Intake is Associated with a Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline: A Cohort Study from Portugal
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease has emerged in recent decades as a major health problem and the role of lifestyles in the modulation of risk has been increasingly recognized. Recent epidemiological studies suggest a protective effect for caffeine intake in dementia. We aimed to quantify the association between caffeine dietary intake and cognitive decline, in a cohort of adults living in Porto. A cohort of 648 subjects aged ≥65 years was recruited between 1999-2003. Follow-up evaluation (2005-2008) was carried out on 58.2% of the eligible participants and 10.9% were deceased. Caffeine exposure in the year preceding baseline evaluation was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire. Cognitive evaluation consisted of baseline and follow-up Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Cognitive decline was defined by a decrease ≥2 points in the MMSE score between evaluations. Relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (95%CI) estimates adjusted for age, education, smoking, alcohol drinking, body mass index, hypertension, and diabetes were computed using Poisson regression. Caffeine intake (>62 mg/day [3rd third] vs. <22 mg/day [1st third]) was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline in women (RR=0.49, 95%CI 0.24-0.97), but not significantly in men (RR=0.65, 95%CI 0.27-1.54). Our study confirms the negative association between caffeine and cognitive decline in women.

Pages 187-204
Catarina Santos, João Costa, João Santos, António Vaz-Carneiro, Nuno Lunet
Caffeine Intake and Dementia: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Abstract: A recent meta-analysis of 4 studies published up to January 2004 suggests a negative association between coffee consumption and Alzheimer’s disease, despite important heterogeneity in methods and results. Several epidemiological studies on this issue have been published since then, warranting an update of the insights on this topic. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies quantifying the relation between caffeine intake and cognitive decline or dementia. Data sources searched included Medline, LILACS, Scopus, Web of Science and reference lists, up to September 2009. Cohort and case-control studies were included. Three independent reviewers selected the studies and extracted the data on to standardized forms. Nine cohort and two case-control studies were included. Quantitative data synthesis of the most precise estimates from each study was accomplished through random effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was quantified using the I2 statistic. The outcomes of the studies considered for meta-analysis were Alzheimer’s disease in four studies, dementia or cognitive impairment in two studies, and cognitive decline in three studies. The summary relative risk (RR) for the association between caffeine intake and different measures of cognitive impairment/decline was 0.84 [95% Confidence Interval (95% CI): 0.72-0.99; I2=42.6%]. When considering only the cohort studies, the summary RR was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.83-1.04, I2=0.0%), and 0.77 (95% CI: 0.63-0.95, I2=34.7%), if the most influential study was excluded. This systematic review and meta-analysis found a trend towards a protective effect of caffeine, but the large methodological heterogeneity across a still limited number of epidemiological studies precludes robust and definite statements on this topic.

Pages 205-220
Review

Rui D. S. Prediger
Effects of Caffeine in Parkinson’s Disease: From Neuroprotection to the Management of Motor and Non-Motor Symptoms
Abstract: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder affecting approximately 1% of the population older than 60 years. Classically, PD is considered to be a motor system disease and its diagnosis is based on the presence of a set of cardinal motor signs (rigidity, bradykinesia, rest tremor) that are consequence of a pronounced death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Nowadays there is considerable evidence showing that non-dopaminergic degeneration also occurs in other brain areas which seems to be responsible for the deficits in olfactory, emotional and memory functions that precede the classical motor symptoms in PD. The present review attempts to examine results reported in epidemiological, clinical and animal studies to provide a comprehensive picture of the antiparkinsonian potential of caffeine. Convergent epidemiological and pre-clinical data suggest that caffeine may confer neuroprotection against the underlying dopaminergic neuron degeneration, and influence the onset and progression of PD. The available data also suggest that caffeine can improve the motor deficits of PD and that adenosine A2A receptor antagonists such as istradefylline reduces OFF time and dyskinesia associated with standard ‘dopamine replacement’ treatments. Finally, recent experimental findings have indicated the potential of caffeine in the management of non-motor symptoms of PD, which do not improve with the current dopaminergic drugs. Altogether, the studies reviewed provide strong evidence that caffeine may represent a promising therapeutic tool in PD, thus being the first compound to restore both motor and non-motor early symptoms of PD together with its neuroprotective potential.

Pages 221-238
João Costa, Nuno Lunet , Catarina Santos, João Santos, António Vaz-Carneiro
Caffeine Exposure and the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies
Abstract: Several studies conducted worldwide report an inverse association between caffeine/coffee consumption and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, heterogeneity and conflicting results between studies preclude a correct estimation of the strength of this association. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published epidemiological studies to better estimate the effect of caffeine exposure on the incidence of PD. Data sources searched included Medline, LILACS, Scopus, Web of Science and reference lists, up to September 2009. Cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies were included. Three independent reviewers selected the studies and extracted the data on to standardized forms. Twenty-six studies were included: 7 cohort, 2 nested case-control, 16 case-control, and 1 cross-sectional study. Quantitative data synthesis of the most precise estimates from each study was accomplished through random effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was quantified using the I2 statistic. The summary RR for the association between caffeine intake and PD was 0.75 [95% Confidence Interval (95%CI): 0.68-0.82], with low to moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.8%). Publication bias for case-control/cross-sectional studies may exist (Egger’s test, p=0.053). When considering only the cohort studies, the RR was 0.80 (95%CI: 0.71-90; I2=8.1%). The negative association was weaker when only women were considered (RR=0.86, 95%CI: 0.73-1.02; I2=12.9%). A linear relation was observed between levels of exposure to caffeine and the RR estimates: RR of 0.76 (95%CI: 0.72-0.80; I2=35.1%) per 300 mg increase in caffeine intake. This study confirm an inverse association between caffeine intake and the risk of PD, which can hardly by explained by bias or uncontrolled confounding.

Pages 239-248
Review

Diogo R. Lara
Caffeine, Mental Health, and Psychiatric Disorders
Abstract: Caffeine intake is so common that its pharmacological effects on the mind are undervalued. Since it is so readily available, individuals can adjust their own dose, time of administration and dose intervals of caffeine, according to the perceived benefits and side effects of each dose. This review focuses on human studies of caffeine in subjects with and without psychiatric disorders. Besides the possibility of mild drug dependence, caffeine may bring benefits that contribute to its widespread use. These benefits seem to be related to adaptation of mental energy to the context by increasing alertness, attention, and cognitive function (more evident in longer or more difficult tasks or situations of low arousal) and by elevating mood. Accordingly, moderate caffeine intake (<6 cups/day) has been associated with less depressive symptoms, fewer cognitive failures, and lower risk of suicide. However, its putative therapeutic effects on depression and ADHD have been insufficiently studied. Conversely, in rare cases high doses of caffeine can induce psychotic and manic symptoms, and more commonly, anxiety. Patients with panic disorder and performance social anxiety disorder seem to be particularly sensitive to the anxiogenic effects of caffeine, whereas preliminary data suggests that it may be effective for some patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The threshold for the anxiogenic effect of caffeine is influenced by a polymorphism of the A2A receptor. In summary, caffeine can be regarded as a pharmacological tool to increase energy and effortful behavior in daily activities. More populational (cross-sectional and prospective) and experimental studies are necessary to establish the role of caffeine intake in psychiatric disorders, especially its putative efficacy on depressive mood and cognitive/attentional disorders.

Pages 249-252
Alexandre de Mendonça, Rodrigo A. Cunha
Concluding Remarks

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