Cheerful women gossiping while having coffee in living room

Coffee reduces dementia risk

As our population ages around the world, it is expected that the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia will quadruple by the year 2050…that is just 34 years away. It’s a ticking societal bomb that has personal, societal, and fiscal costs bound at its core. That is why so much research effort is going into finding ways to prevent dementia. The simpler the answers the better as they are more likely to be pursued and a new study indicates that one simple way to reduce dementia risk may be by drinking coffee and tea.

The new study involved almost 6,500 women aged 65 and older taking part in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study over a ten year time period. All women completed surveys in which they reported on their consumption of coffee, tea, and cola containing beverages.

The results showed that women who consumed the highest amount of caffeine (more than 261mg of caffeine daily: equalling three 250ml cups of coffee or six cups of tea) were 36 per cent less likely to develop dementia or cognitive impairment compared to women who drank the least caffeine (less than 64mg daily).

The effect that exists here is probably related to a brain chemical known as adenosine. Caffeine blocks adenosine from attaching to receptors in the brain. Adenosine attaches to receptors and by influencing the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and glutamate has a modulating effect on neuroplasticity in the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory. There is increasing thought that adenosine A2A receptors play a role in cognition and that they may be a way to treat cognitive conditions such as dementia.

If this is the case and if the findings of this study are to be believed then caffeine containing drinks like coffee and tea may be a way to reduce your likelihood of developing dementia. It’s not yet completely proven but it’s a stimulating thought.

Source: Nature Neuroscience

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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