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Coffee in midlife may prevent future dementia

Monday January 19th, 2009

Drinking coffee may have a protective effect against dementia, researchers have reported.

The new study comes from the University of Kuopio, Finland and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr Miia Kivipelto and colleagues looked at figures from 1,409 adults aged 65 to 79 who had been followed for an average of 21 years.

Of these, 61 had been diagnosed with dementia. Daily coffee consumption was categorised into low (0-2 cups), moderate (3-5 cups) and high (more than five cups).

Results showed that moderate coffee drinkers had a 65 per cent lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life than the other groups. Findings are published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr Kivipelto said: "We aimed to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia/Alzheimer's disease risk in late-life, because the long-term impact of caffeine on the central nervous system was still unknown, and as the pathologic processes leading to Alzheimer's disease may start decades before the clinical manifestation of the disease.

"Given the large amount of coffee consumption globally, the results might have important implications for the prevention of or delaying the onset of dementia/Alzheimer's disease."

Dr Kivipelto cautioned that the finding must be confirmed by future studies, however it "opens the possibility that dietary interventions could modify the risk of dementia/Alzheimer's disease."

She added that identification of mechanisms of how coffee exerts its protection against these conditions might help in the development of new treatments.

Eskelinen, M. H. et al. Midlife Coffee and Tea Drinking and the Risk of Late-Life Dementia: A Population-based CAIDE Study. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Vol. 16, 2009, in press.

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Europe | Nutrition & Healthy Eating

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