Subjects: Behavioral health
Looking for a reason to down another cup of Joe?
Scandinavian scientists have reported that people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee per day while in their 20s were 65% less likely to develop dementia than those who drank 2 cups or less.
The Danish-Swedish research group managed to follow 1,409 middle-age people for an averageof 21 years after collecting dietary information at the beginning of the study. In all, 61 study participants developed dementia, including 48 with Alzheimer’s disease.
The scientists excluded the possibilities that age, family history, high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes were driving the apparent association.
The jittery few who downed more than 5 cups per day experienced a similar benefit, but numbers were so small in this subset that no one could say for sure whether the differences were significant.
Nevertheless, lead author Miia Kivipelto, of Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute was in no mood to set up a Dunkin’ Donuts outside her ER. “This is an observational study,” she reminded the New York Times.
“We have no evidence that for people who are not drinking coffee, (starting) will have a protective effect.”
Kivipelto and colleagues think the association is mediated through a known link between coffee consumption and a diminished risk of type 2 diabetes, which increases dementia risk.
Caffeine has also been shown in animal studies to cut amyloid plaque formation in the brain and to have weak antioxidant effects.
The paper appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Coincidentally, another Karolinska research group just published a similarly designed study which showed dementia was less common in people with a laid-back personality.
And researchers at Durham University have observed that people who consume prodigious quantities of caffeine are more likely to experience hallucinations. Imagine that!