We’re saved! Pass the coffee pot
Remember how we have been told for some time now that drinking coffee is bad for us. Well according to a 20 year study in Sweden and Denmark you can tell all those health nuts to go take a flying leap because they’ll probably end up with dementia before you will.
The January issue of The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease features the results of this study which tracked some 2,000 people over a 21 year period. During the study period the participants self-reported their dietary habits; which included their coffee consumption. After the two decades more than 70% of the participants could be reached for follow-up evaluations. The fact that 1,409 now middle-aged participants out of the original 2,000 could be reached was concerned by the scientists to be an unusually high number.
During those 21 years it turns out that 61 people developed dementia and of those 61 only 48 developed Alzheimer’s.
After evaluating the effects of many health and socioeconomic factors, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol counts, the research team concluded the participants who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day were 65% less likely to develop dementia than those who drank less. Drinking even more than five cups a day was also associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia but the number of participants drinking this much coffee was too small to be statistically significant.
While not advocating someone start drinking coffee as a preventive measure, Dr. Miia Kivipelto, associate professor of neurology at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, suggests the following factors may be involved:
- Previous studies have found drinking coffee decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease that raises the risk of dementia.
- Animal studies have shown that caffeine reduces formation of amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques are a distinguishing characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Coffee may be a bloodstream-protecting antioxidant that protects the vascular system enough to reduce the likelihood of dementia.
Kivipelto also noted coffee consumption has been linked to decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Well I definitely will feel better as my 12 cup coffee-maker does its job in the morning. How about you?