Caffeine and Alzheimer’s: Could Coffee Offer Protection?

By RanchView Senior Assisted Living
February 28, 2024

What Does the Research Show about Caffeine and Cognitive Disorders?

A recent study in Australia suggests that there might be a link between caffeine intake and how quickly individuals experience cognitive decline. The research was published in the journal entitled Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Research in the past has indicated that drinking coffee might reduce one’s susceptibility to cognitive disorders. For this particular study, Australian researchers wanted to understand this connection better.

Coffee Consumption Could Prove Preventative for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Lead author and researcher Dr. Gardener states that this research excites her because coffee consumption is a simple, easily accessible lifestyle modification. She says, “ intake could one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of [Alzheimer’s Disease]. It’s a simple thing that people can change […]. It could be beneficial for people at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms.”

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Rates of Alzheimer’s Disease Expected to Increase as Populations Age

While more than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia, it is not a normal part of aging. The disease is challenging to study and understand and causes a series of complex changes to the brain. Eventually, these brain changes can lead to cognitive decline and memory loss. While there are a variety of dementias, Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type, accounting for an estimated 50% to 75% of cases of dementia. With the global population aging on a macroscale, experts believe that we will see an increase in the cases of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, lifestyle changes, medications, and other treatments and interventions have been proven to slow the progression of the disease. As mentioned above, the Australian study on coffee consumption and Alzheimer’s disease suggests that higher coffee intake might be linked to a slower rate of cognitive decline. This was especially true for subjects who had risk factors for neurodegeneration but had yet to show symptoms.

Dr. Gardener explains one hypothesis for this slowed rate of progression, “Higher coffee intake was associated with slower accumulation of the sticky protein called beta-amyloid, which clumps together in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.” Interestingly, this study was not able to connect brain volume atrophy with coffee consumption.

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