Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cake: it doesn't cure dementia

Yesterday's Daily Express carried the surprising headline:

Yes, really. Cake 'cure' for dementia.

Here's the paper's health correspondent Jo Willey:

Scientists are hailing an everyday cooking spice as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s – after finding clues in the Bible.

They say cinnamon, used in everything from cakes to curries, could be the “holy grail” in slowing or even eradicating dementia in patients.

An extract in cinnamon bark called CEppt was given in ­liquid form to mice and fruit flies bred with Alzheimer’s. After four months, the diseased creatures were said to have shown “remarkably” normal “activity levels and longevity”.

So it's not actually a 'cake cure' and as it has not been tested on humans, it may not be a cure at all.

At the end of the article, there's a tell-tale quote from the Alzheimer's Society:

“Although these results look promising in mice and fruit flies, it’s too soon to know what effect it would have in people.

“We wouldn’t recommend stocking up on cinnamon doughnuts just yet. The amount needed to have any hope would far exceed that in an everyday diet.”

Another statement from the Society reiterated this point:

However people shouldn't rush out to buy this popular spice. This research is in the early stages and looked at mice not humans. We are therefore a long way from using cinnamon in the fight against Alzheimer's.

NHS Behind the Headlines has more:

It is important to note that this was an animal study and its findings may not apply to humans. Also, these experiments used a cinnamon extract rather than cinnamon itself, and it is not clear whether eating cinnamon would have the same effect. It is also unclear how much cinnamon it would be necessary to eat to have an effect, and there are chemicals in cinnamon bark that may have harmful effects if eaten in large quantities.

This is preliminary research and more investigation is needed to determine whether this extract is safe and works in humans. It is much too early to claim that this extract could be the “holy grail” for slowing or eradicating Alzheimer’s disease.


The Daily Express overstated the findings of this study. Stating that a “Cake cure for dementia” has been discovered is premature as this study examined the impact of a specific extract derived from cinnamon, not cake, in animal models of dementia rather than in humans.


  1. Cake: It's a made-up drug.

  2. I'm amazed that they didn't go for the curry angle, seeing how cures cancer:

    (on the other hand, I tried to see if the Express covered that, amazingly not!)

  3. Curry is a foreign foodstuff being forced upon the downtrodden indiginous Brits by the invading Muslims from Pakistan and India.

    The Express can hardly be expected to say that it might contain something thats good for you, that would be PC gone mad!

  4. Can't wait until next weeks headline of "CINNAMON CAUSES CANCER".

  5. The thing that annoys me most about these bogus science stories is that it's often the scientists who get blamed by the general public. In the words of one of my friends, "the thing about scientists is, they're always changing their mind". If you read the Daily Mail / Express, it's not difficult to see why.

  6. "Scientists are hailing an everyday cooking spice as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s – after finding clues in the Bible."

    Takes some doing, but that is the stupidest sentence I have ever read in a newspaper. What were the clues?

  7. I'm now trying to work out how one recognises a demented fruit fly.


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