An exciting new class of potential inhibitors of both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease has been isolated from coffee.

Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of the Kembril Brain Institute in Toronto, Canada explains: “The consumption of coffee seems to have a correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzeimer’s disease and/or Parkinson’s disease”.

Their investigations have recently been reported in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. Among the results: Three types of coffee were investigated: caffeinated dark roast, caffeinated light roast, and decaffeinated dark roast.

The results, according to Dr. Ross Mancini, a research fellow in medicinal chemistry:

• The caffeinated and decaffeinated dark roast both had identical potencies in their initial experimental tests. Caffeine has nothing to do with the therapeutic benefits.
• The process of roasting coffee beans produces phenyl indanes, one in particular, which was isolated and purified.
• This compound was shown to inhibit the amalgamation of tau and beta-amyloid, toxic proteins which are implicated in both Alzheimers’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

The next step is for medicinal chemists to separate all stereogenic isomers and determine which is the active one/s. Then they can take steps to make derivatives which can cross the blood brain barrier and finally, continue down the drug discovery pipeline.