If you are middle-aged, drinking three to five cups of coffee a day may help to prevent or delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease by up to 70%, according to Scandinavian researchers from the University of Kuopio, Finland and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
The researchers compared the records of 1,409 people between the ages of 65 and 79 in Finland and Sweden, comparing them to a series of surveys in 1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987 that they had previously participated in that noted daily coffee consumption.
According to the report, over an average of 21 years, subjects drinking three or more cups of coffee during middle-age were far likely to have developed dementia or Alzheimer's. The study showed that coffee drinkers at midlife had a lower risk for dementia or Alzheimer's. The lowest risk was found among moderate coffee drinkers (65%-70% decreased risk of dementia and a 62%-64% decreased risk of Alzheimer's) compared with low coffee drinkers (zero to two cups daily).
"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, said researcher Miia Kivipelto. "The finding needs to be confirmed by other studies, but it opens the possibility that dietary interventions could modify the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. [And it] might help in the development of new therapies for these diseases."
Previous studies have indicated coffee improves memory and that caffeine reportedly reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease.
"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 in the central nervous system was still unknown," said Kivipelto. The pathologic processes leading to Alzheimer's disease may start decades before the clinical manifestation of the disease."
Tea drinkers, however, did not show the same benefits, according to the researchers.