Factsheet for professionals

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Age-related cognitive decline

  • Cognitive functions remain relatively stable until 60 years old when they tend to slow down, particularly between 60 and 80 years.
  • Research suggests that brain function can start to deteriorate as early as 45 years old1.
  • In addition, older adults are susceptible to developing neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Alzheimer’s disease

  • Between 50 and 70 percent of people with dementia suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease2.
  • Approximately one person out of twenty over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease as opposed to less than one person in a thousand under the age of 653.
  • A 2014 systematic review from Alzheimer’s Europe concluded that overall dementia prevalence has not changed in recent decades but a higher prevalence in older females was reported4.
  • By 2025, the percentage of people in the EU aged over 65 is predicted to rise from 15.4% of the population to 22.4%, which is likely to correlate with a rise in Alzheimer’s disease5.
  • Approximately 26 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease worldwide5.

Parkinson’s disease

  • In Europe, almost 1.2 million people are estimated to have Parkinson’s Disease, with about 75,000 new cases diagnosed every year6.
  • Parkinson’s Disease usually sets in at or above 60 years of age, but it is estimated that one in ten people are diagnosed before the age of 50, with slightly more men than women affected7.
  • According the Global Declaration for Parkinson’s Disease, 6.3 million people have Parkinson’s worldwide, and it affects all races and cultures7.

Coffee consumption and neurodegenerative disorders

  • Research suggests that a regular, lifelong, moderate consumption of coffee/caffeine may slow down physiological, age-related cognitive decline8, especially in women and those over 80 years old in particular9,10.
  • Although epidemiological research suggests that lifelong, moderate coffee consumption is linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease8,11, further studies are warranted before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
  • There is a substantial amount of epidemiological* research showing that as coffee consumption rises, the risk of Parkinson’s Disease falls, suggesting a potential preventative effect12,13,14.
  • The bioactive components in coffee responsible for these effects on neurological function are not known. Caffeine may play a role but other neuroprotective, antioxidative or anti-inflammatory components of coffee are candidates.
  • For Parkinson’s Disease, it is likely that caffeine is the main component responsible for the potential preventative effect15,16.
  • Studies suggest that moderate coffee consumption may also reduce the risk of stroke17,18,19.
  • The mechanisms of action underlying the neuroprotective effects of coffee constituents remain unclear.
  • These data support beneficial effects of coffee drinking, but further research is needed to fully substantiate these effects.


1 Singh-Manoux A. et al. (2011) Timing of onset of cognitive decline: results from Whitehall II prospective cohort study. BMJ, 343:d7622 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7622
2 Alzheimer Europe (2010) ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/EN/Dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease
3 Alzheimer Europe (2009) ‘Who is affected by Alzheimer’s disease?’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/index.php/Dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/Who-is-affected-by-Alzheimer-s-disease
4 Alzheimer Europe (2014) ‘Prevalence of dementia in Europe’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Research/European-Collaboration-on-Dementia/Prevalence-of-dementia/Prevalence-of-dementia-in-Europe
5 Alzheimer Europe (2010) ‘The impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Europe’ Available at: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/EN/Research/PharmaCog/Why-Pharmacog/(language)/eng-GB
6 European Parkinson’s Disease Association (2011) ‘EPDA Annual report 2010-2011’ Available at: http://www.epda.eu.com/en/resources/pd-resources/epda/annual-reports/?entryid2=15128 
7 European Parkinson’s Disease Association (2011) ‘Life with Parkinson’s’ Available at: http://www.epda.eu.com/en/resources/life-with-parkinsons/
8 Santos C. et al. (2010) Caffeine intake and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis, 20 Suppl 1:S187-204.
9 Johnson-Kozlow M. et al. (2002) Coffee consumption and cognitive function among older adults. Am J Epidemiol, 156:842-850.
10 Ritchie K. et al. (2007) The neuroprotective effects of caffeine: a prospective population study (the Three City Study). Neurology, 69:536-545.
11 Barranco Quintana J.L. et al. (2007) Alzheimer’s disease and coffee: a quantitative review. Neurol Res, 29:91-5.
12 Hernan M.A. et al. (2002) A meta-analysis of coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Ann Neurol, 52:276-84.
13 Costa J. et al. (2010) Caffeine exposure and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. J Alzheimers Dis, 20 Suppl 1:S221-38.
14 Ascherio A. et al. (2001) Prospective study of caffeine consumption and risk of Parkinson’s disease in men and women. Ann Neurol, 50:56-63.
15 Morelli M. et al. (2009) Adenosine A2A receptors and Parkinson’s disease. Handb Exp Pharmacol, 193:589-615.
16 Iida M. et al. (1999) Dopamine D2 receptor-mediated antioxidant and neuroprotective effects of ropinirole, a dopamine agonist. Brain Res, 838:51-9.
17 Larsson S.C. et al. (2011) Coffee consumption and risk of stroke in women. Stroke, 42:908-12.
18 Larsson S.C. et al. (2008) Coffee and tea consumption and risk of stroke subtypes in male smokers. Stroke, 39:1681-7.
19 Larsson S.C. & Orsini N. (2011) Coffee consumption and risk of stroke: A dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Epidemiol, 174(9):993-1001.

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