Questions patients ask

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Q: Does drinking coffee help prevent cognitive decline in older adults?

A: Research suggests that regular, moderate coffee drinking over a lifetime slows down cognitive decline as we get older1, especially in women and those over 80 years old in particular2,3,4.

Q: How does coffee slow down cognitive decline as we get older?

A: The exact mechanism behind coffee’s beneficial effect on cognitive function in older adults is not yet known, however caffeine1,2,3 and other coffee components like anti-inflammatory compounds may play a role.

Q: Are the elderly particularly sensitive to coffee’s effects on cognitive decline?

A: Yes. In many studies, young and elderly participants appear to respond to the effects of caffeine in coffee differently. Overall, older adults are more sensitive to the protective effects of coffee/caffeine on declining mental performance than younger adults5,6,7.

Q: Am I less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease if I drink coffee?

A: It is too early to say although the majority of studies do suggest that older adults who drink moderate amounts of coffee regularly over a lifetime may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease than non-coffee drinkers1,8. Further research is needed.

Q: How much coffee do I need to drink to reduce my risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease?

A: Although it is too early to draw firm conclusions, studies suggest that older adults who drink moderate amounts of coffee (3-4 cups of caffeinated coffee) regularly over a lifetime may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-coffee drinkers1,8.9.

Q: How does coffee work to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease?

A: It is too early to say as the mechanisms are not yet known. More research is needed.

Q: Am I less likely to get Parkinson’s disease if I drink coffee?

A: Research suggests that regular coffee consumption may reduce, or delay, the development of Parkinson’s disease in men and in women who are not on hormonal therapies10,,11,12,13,14.

Q: How much coffee do I need to drink to reduce my risk of getting Parkinson’s disease?

A: The optimal amount of coffee has not been established yet, however positive effects have been reported for moderate consumption (3-5 cups per day).

Q: How does coffee work to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease?

A: Caffeine in coffee is likely to be the compound responsible for coffee’s potentially beneficial effect15,16. More work is needed to confirm its exact mechanism of action.

Q: Am I less likely to suffer a stroke if I drink coffee?

A: Research shows that moderate coffee drinkers may be less likely to suffer a stroke than non-coffee drinkers17,18,19.

Q: How much coffee do I need to drink to reduce my risk of suffering  a stroke?

A: Research shows that moderate coffee drinkers, who drink approximately 3-5 cups of caffeinated coffee per day, may be less likely to suffer a stroke than non-coffee drinkers17,18,19.

References

1 Santos C. et al. (2010) Caffeine intake and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis, 20 Suppl 1:S187-204.

2 Johnson-Kozlow M. et al. (2002) Coffee consumption and cognitive function among older adults. Am J Epidemiol, 156:842-850.

3 Ritchie K. et al. (2007) The neuroprotective effects of caffeine: a prospective population study (the Three City Study). Neurology, 69:536-545.

4 Beydoun M.A. et al. (2014), Caffeine and Alcohol Intakes and Overall Nutrient Adequacy Are Associated with Longitudinal Cognitive Performance among U.S. Adults. J Nutr, published online ahead of print, Available at: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/261773069

5 Swift C.G. & Tiplady B. (1988) The effects of age on the response to caffeine. Psychopharmacology, 94:29-31.

6 Rees K. et al. (1999) The influences of age and caffeine on psychomotor and cognitive function. Psychopharmacology, 145:181-188.

7 Jarvis M.J. (1993) Does caffeine intake enhance absolute levels of cognitive performance? Psychopharmacology, 110:45-52.

8 Barranco Quintana J.L. et al. (2007) Alzheimer’s disease and coffee: a quantitative review. Neurol Res. 29:91-5.

9 Eskelinen M.H. et al. (2009) Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study. J Alzheimers Dis, 16:85-91.

10 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.

11 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.

12 Ascherio A. et al. (2003) Caffeine, postmenopausal estrogen, and risk of Parkinson’s disease. Neurology, 60:790-5.

13 Liu R. et al. (2012) Caffeine intake, smoking, and risk of Parkinson disease in men and women. Am J Epidemiol, 175(11):1200-7.

14 Qi H. et al. (2014) Dose–response meta-analysis on coffee, tea and caffeine consumption with risk of Parkinson’s disease. Geriatr Gerontol Int, (2):430-9.

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, Nov 1;174(9):993-1001.

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