Used Coffee Grounds May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s: Study


The research is in its early stages, but a team of scientists has recently discovered that coffee grounds have the potential, through a specific process, to protect brain cells from damage caused by certain neurodegenerative diseases. With these new findings, researchers aim to eventually develop a medication capable of combating most disorders of this nature.

Dementia affects no fewer than 55 million people worldwide, with nearly 10 million new cases reported each year, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for between 60 and 70% of these cases, while Parkinson’s disease affected about 8.5 million people in 2019. These are two diseases that currently have no cure, and the cost of care continues to rise each year. Hence, scientists are working to find a medication that could be a game-changer, allowing millions to prevent these disorders.

A team of researchers from the University of Texas at El Paso seems to have found a promising lead in coffee grounds, specifically in the “caffeic acid-based carbon quantum dots” derived from them. These quantum dots appear capable of protecting brain cells from damage caused by certain neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, scientists emphasize that this solution is only viable if the disease results from lifestyle or environmental factors, such as obesity, age, or exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

Caffeic-acid based carbon quantum dots have the potential to be transformative in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. This is because none of the current treatments resolve the diseases; they only help manage the symptoms. Our aim is to find a cure by addressing the atomic and molecular underpinnings that drive these conditions,” explains Jyotish Kumar from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso in a press release.

A Hope for the Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Published in the journal Environmental Research, these findings are based on a specific, environmentally friendly process that extracted carbon quantum dots from coffee grounds using caffeic acid. To achieve this, coffee grounds samples were heated to 200 degrees for four hours, resulting in the formation of these compounds. They demonstrated neuroprotective effects in in vitro experiments, showing the ability to eliminate free radicals, among other benefits.

This discovery suggests that a treatment based on these compounds could potentially prevent Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, especially in the early stages, in humans. However, this presupposes that environmental or lifestyle factors are what cause the diseases.

It is critical to address these disorders before they reach the clinical stage. At that point, it is likely too late. Any current treatments that can address advanced symptoms of neurodegenerative disease are simply beyond the means of most people. Our aim is to come up with a solution that can prevent most cases of these conditions at a cost that is manageable for as many patients as possible,” concludes one of the study’s lead authors.

Researchers are now seeking additional funding to delve deeper into these studies and conduct more tests to confirm these results.