Friday, January 23, 2009

Midlife coffee may help stave off dementia

Drinking coffee is good for you. Study after study finds good effects. And some find bad effects. But the balance is not negative. So, drink up. Midlife coffee drinking may decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life, researchers in Sweden and Finland said. The study was conducted at the University of Kuopio in Finland in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland. Participants were the survivors of two population-based studies. After an average follow-up of 21 years, 1,409 individuals ages 65 to 79 completed the re-examination in 1998. Sixty-one cases were identified as having dementia and 48 with Alzheimer's disease. Lead researcher Miia Kivipelto of the University of Kuopio and Karolinska Institutet said at the midlife examination, the consumption of coffee and tea was assessed with a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Coffee drinking was categorized into three groups: zero to two cups cups, three to five cups and more than five cups per day. Tea consumption was characterized as zero cups a day, or more than one cup a day. The study, published in the the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found that coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk for dementia and later in life compared to those drinking no or only little coffee. The lowest risk -- 65 percent decrease -- was found among moderate coffee drinkers drinking three to five cups of coffee a day. Tea drinking was relatively uncommon and was not associated with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said.

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