Saturday, January 24, 2009

Get a Steaming Cup of Coffee and Stay Mentally Sharp

A new study shows that drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day, especially in midlife, can keep us mentally sharp. The research, performed at the University of Kuopio, Finland, shows a whopping 65% reduction in the chances that we will develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in later life, by simply adding coffee to our daily diet.

The researchers followed 1409 individuals by way of questionnaires for a period of 21years. The group answered specifics about dietary habits, including the amount of coffee they consumed throughout the day. The results showed that coffee drinkers in midlife showed a lower chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life, compared to those who drank little or no coffee.

The groups involved in the coffee and dementia study were divided into those who drank 0-2 cups (low), 3-5 cups (moderate) and greater than 5 cups (high) of coffee each day. The evaluation also included those who drank tea, but tea drinkers were so uncommon that no association could be found between dementia and tea drinking.

The researchers found such a positive risk reduction in declining mental ability among coffee drinkers in midlife, that they plan to pursue things further, honing in on exactly what substance in coffee helps us stay mentally sharp with aging.

According to associate professor Miia Kivipelto, from the University of Kuopio, Finland and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, "We aimed to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia/AD 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/AD.

Staying mentally sharp with age suddenly seems easy. Now where did I place my coffee cup?

Midlife Coffee and Tea Drinking and the Risk of Late-Life Dementia