I know that the reports on coffee, even on this site, vary considerably. I like the sound of this new research, however, because it shows that drinking several cups of coffee each day during middle-age may "significantly reduce the odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life." Anything that I can do to reduce my odds on that one, I'll take!
Finnish and Swedish researchers studied the association between tea and coffee consumption during middle-age and the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in late-life. The researchers first questioned people about their tea and coffee drinking habits. A total of 1409 participants were available for the follow-up re-examination approximately 21 years later. At follow-up participants were aged between 65 to 79, and 61 participants were found to be suffering from dementia, 48 of which had Alzheimer’s disease.
Results showed that people who drank coffee while in their middle years had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank little or no coffee. With participants who reported a moderate coffee consumption (3 to 5 cups each day) being 65% less likely to develop dementia/Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank little or no coffee. Tea drinking was uncommon in this Scandinavian population and so the researchers found no association between drinking tea and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease -- (this may not say anything about tea, but more about the lifestyle of those in the region.)
“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 lead 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/Alzheimer’s disease. Also, identification of mechanisms of how coffee exerts its protection against dementia/Alzheimer’s disease might help in the development of new therapies for these diseases."
This study was reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, issue 2009;16.