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Study: With exceptions, moderate coffee drinking may help protect against mild cognitive impairment

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Cof­fee habits linked to mem­o­ry, brain health in seniors (CBS News):

In the study, a team led by Dr. Vin­cen­zo Sol­frizzi of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bari Aldo Moro, looked at the cof­fee con­sump­tion of 1,445 Ital­ians aged 65 to 84. The par­tic­i­pants’ men­tal health was also tracked for a medi­an of three-and-a-half years…the research team found that peo­ple who con­sis­tent­ly drank about one or two cups of cof­fee per day had a low­er rate of mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment (MCI) than those who nev­er or rarely drank the brew.

The ben­e­fi­cial asso­ci­a­tion was not found among peo­ple whose habit­u­al cof­fee intake exceed­ed two cups per day, Solfrizzi’s group added.

And in what they called an “inter­est­ing” find­ing, the researchers found that the rate of MCI actu­al­ly rose over time for seniors who bumped up their dai­ly intake by a cup of cof­fee or more dai­ly. Those par­tic­i­pants had a rate of MCI that was about one-and-a-half times high­er than that of long-term, mod­er­ate cof­fee drinkers (one to two cups per day) whose dai­ly intake didn’t increase.”

To learn moreDoes Cof­fee Boost Brain/ Cog­ni­tive Func­tions Over Time?

There is lit­tle doubt that drink­ing that morn­ing cup of cof­fee will like­ly increase alert­ness, but the main ques­tions that research is try­ing to answer go beyond that. Basi­cally: is there a sus­tained, life­time, ben­e­fit or harm from drink­ing cof­fee reg­u­lar­ly?

The answer, so far, con­tains good news and bad news. The good news for cof­fee drinkers is that most of the long-term results are direc­tion­ally more pos­i­tive than neg­a­tive, so no clear harm seems to occur. The bad news is that it is not clear so far whether caf­feine has ben­e­fi­cial effects on gen­eral brain func­tions, either short-term or long-term (aged-relat­ed decline or risks of demen­tia).

It is impor­tant to note that many of the stud­ies show­ing an effect of cof­fee con­sump­tion on brain func­tions or risks of demen­tia report a cor­re­la­tion or asso­ci­a­tion (they are not ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als). As you know, cor­re­la­tion doesn’t prove cau­sa­tion: cof­fee drinkers may seem to do well in a num­ber in these long-term stud­ies, but there may be oth­er rea­sons why cof­fee drinkers do bet­ter.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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