Research is still in its early stages, but a team of scientists has just discovered that coffee grounds have the potential, via a specific process, to protect brain cells from damage caused by certain neurodegenerative diseases. With this new work, researchers hope to ultimately produce a drug capable of combating most disorders of this type.
Dementia affects no less than 55 million people worldwide, with nearly 10 million new cases each year, according to data published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The majority of these cases, between 60% and 70%, concern Alzheimer’s disease, while around 8.5 million people suffered from Parkinson’s disease in 2019, again according to the WHO. Two diseases that no treatment is currently capable of curing, and for which the cost of care continues to increase every year. This is why scientists are working to try to find ‘THE’ drug that could change the situation, and allow millions of people to prevent these disorders.
Treat before symptoms
A team of researchers from the University of Texas at El Paso seems to have found a serious lead in… coffee grounds. More precisely, it is the “carbon quantum dots based on caffeic acid”, which can be obtained from coffee grounds, which would be able to protect brain cells from damage caused by certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Be careful, however, scientists specify that this solution is only possible if the disease results from factors linked to lifestyle or the environment, such as obesity, age, or exposure to pesticides and other products. toxic chemicals.
“Caffeic acid-based carbon quantum dots have the potential to transform the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Indeed, none of the current treatments solve the diseases; they just manage the symptoms. Our goal is to find a cure by attacking the atomic and molecular foundations of these diseases“, explains Jyotish Kumar, of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso, in a press release.
Hope for the development of a treatment
Published in the journal Environmental Research, this work is based on a specific, environmentally friendly process that made it possible to extract carbon quantum dots based on caffeic acid from coffee grounds. To do this, they cooked samples of coffee grounds at 200 degrees for four hours to form these compounds. Which have shown their neuroprotective effect in test tube experiments, with the ability to eliminate free radicals, among others.
This discovery suggests that treatment based on these compounds could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, when it is at “a very early stage”, in humans. Provided, as we have seen, that it is caused by factors linked to lifestyle or the environment.
“It is essential to address these disorders before they reach the clinical stage. At this point, it’s probably too late. Current treatments capable of treating advanced symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases are simply out of reach for most people. Our goal is to find a solution that prevents most cases of these diseases at a manageable cost for as many patients as possible.“, concludes one of the main authors of the study.
Researchers are now looking for additional funds to be able to deepen this research and increase the number of tests to confirm these results.