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

coffee

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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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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