A new study has revealed yet another benefit of drinking coffee – it can help prevent mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Coffee has been credited as a “cure” for many problems is the past. On top of keeping us sharp and helping us perform better at work and school, inspiring us to create art and sparking interesting conversations, many previous studies have found that the dark liquid is useful in treating medical conditions as well.
Several dieticians believe that coffee can make it easier for obese and overweight patients to lose weight and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, and a recent study published a few months ago has shown that drinking one or two cups of coffee on a daily basis can have a great benefit for men with erectile dysfunction (ED).
The new study, published earlier this month, in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, makes similar claims, however it also warns that if someone changes their coffee consumption habits over the course of their life, there’s a chance they may go from helping their brain to harming it.
The researchers, a group from the University of Bari Aldo Moro, looked at 1.445 senior individuals, with their ages ranging from 65 to 84. Dr. Vincenzo Solfrizzi and his team monitored the subjects for about 3.5 years, carefully documenting their coffee consumption habits as well as the incidents portraying a decline in their memory and thinking skills (also known as mild cognitive impairment).
What they found was that “Older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI”.
The research team found that coffee can help fight off mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease under certain circumstances.
If a subject who drank either one (1) or two (2) cups of coffee per day, kept their coffee consumption steady throughout the years, meaning they did not increase or decrease the amount of coffee that they consumed, their chances of experiencing mild cognitive impairment lowered.
The working theory is that coffee has a type of “neuroprotective” effect which minimizes the harm done by the buildup of amyloid protein plaques, a factor that field experts often link to the development of Alzheimer’s.
However, the study also showed that if a subject who had normal cognitive abilities used to drink one (1) cup of coffee per day prior to the study, but increased their coffee consumption over the course of the study, the change would make them two (2) times more likely to start showing signs of mild cognitive impairment.
On the opposite end of the equation, if a subject who had normal cognitive abilities used to drink one (1) cup of coffee per day prior to the study, but decreased their coffee consumption over the course of the study, the change would make them one and a half (1.5) times more likely to start showing signs of mild cognitive impairment.
As far as the subjects who steadily drank more than two cups of coffee on a daily basis, they could not be linked to either an increased risk or a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment.
Dr. Solfrizzi and his team admitted that they need to conduct further studies “with longer follow-up periods”, but they firmly believe that that their work may someday lead to developing diets that will keep people from experiencing dementia.
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