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This Common Drink May Reduce Dementia Risk by 65%

A study published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that drinking three to four cups of coffee per day during midlife may significantly decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

As you know, coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. But despite its popularity, coffee's long-term impact on the central nervous system remains largely an unknown.

To explore this mystery, researchers from the University of Kuopio in Finland, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Finland's National Public Health Institute set out to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia risk later in life.

Starting in 1972 and ending in 1987, the researchers surveyed 1,409 individuals between 65 and 79 years old about their daily coffee and tea consumption.

Based on the information they received, researchers split the coffee drinkers into three groups: low (0-2 cups daily), moderate (3-5 cups) and high consumption (greater than 5 cups). Tea consumption was categorized as those drank tea (1 cup or more daily) and those who did not.

In 1998 the study participants were re-examined and 61 cases of dementia were identified. Over 75% of them were Alzheimer's.

The researchers found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day during mid life was associated with a 65% decrease in dementia risk when compared to those who drank little or no coffee. There did not appear to be any link between tea consumption and dementia risk.

This study adds to a growing body of evidence linking coffee consumption with better cognitive health.

For instance, a previous study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking 10 cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 74%.

Although drinking 10 cups a day may be a bit extreme, these results may help open the door for new dietary interventions to reduce the risk of dementia.
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