COFFEE AND DEMENTIA?


There is an interesting report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (JAD) concerning an association between blood caffeine levels and retarded or blocked progression of dementia in people. (h/t Medscape)

Herewith the relevant portion of the abstract:

Although both human epidemiologic and animal model studies have suggested that caffeine/coffee protects against Alzheimer’s disease, direct human evidence for this premise has been lacking. In the present case-control study, two separate cohorts consisting of 124 total individuals (65-88 years old) were cognitively assessed and a blood sample taken for caffeine/biomarker analysis. Subjects were then monitored for cognitive status over the ensuing 2-4 year period to determine the extent to which initial plasma caffeine/biomarkers levels would be predictive of changes in cognitive status. Plasma caffeine levels at study onset were substantially lower (-51%) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects who later progressed to dementia (MCI→DEM) compared to levels in stable MCI subjects (MCI→MCI). Moreover, none of the MCI→DEM subjects had initial blood caffeine levels that were above a critical level of 1200 ng/ml, while half of stable MCI→MCI subjects had blood caffeine levels higher than that critical level. Thus, plasma caffeine levels greater than 1200 ng/ml (≈ 6 μM) in MCI subjects were associated with no conversion to dementia during the ensuing 2-4 year follow-up period.

To this ripening coffee drinker, this is exciting news.  I certainly hope that additional studies bear out this relationship, so I can satisfy my craving for java every day and stay sharp to boot.

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About Michael J. Kubat

I'm a grumpy Czech-born clinical social worker who is vitally interested in the survival in the United States as a viable democracy and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
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