Can Coffee Prevent Mild Cognitive Impairment?
Coffee is probably one of my favorite topics to read and write about. Usually because I can be found drinking it from oversized mugs.
So when I see research on coffee, I’m normally interested in what it has to say. I’m also secretly pleased when it turns out to be good news.
A study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has recently found that coffee habits have a protective effect for the brain. And while generally good, it seems that changing your coffee drinking habits when you’re older may not be a good idea.
The research is the result of the collaboration of several institutions in Italy. Scientists looked at over 1,400 subjects that were aged from 65-84 and studied their coffee consumption habits over the course of 3.5 years. Specifically, they were trying to find if coffee habits had any affect on mild cognitive impairment.
Mild Cognitive Impairment – or MCI – is basically a lesser form of dementia. It’s usually associated with small memory issues in day to day life. But it’s not severe and isn’t in the same ballpark as dementia.
One of the main findings from their research was that moderate drinkers – and by moderate they mean 1 to 2 cups a day – had a reduced rate of MCI when compared against people who drank little to no coffee. This confirmed previous findings about the protective effects that coffee has on our brain.
However, things got interesting when they looked at people who increased their coffee consumption during the study to more than a cup per day. For these people, increasing coffee intake nearly doubled the risk of getting mild cognitive dementia when compared to those that drank little or no coffee.
They also found that people who drank more than two cups a day were no more or no less likely to develop MCI than people who drink little to no coffee.
So can coffee prevent mild cognitive impairment? The study points to yes, as long as you hit the sweet spot of 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day. And as long as it’s an ongoing habit. Anything more than that – or less – and no benefit was seen.
Too Early To Say
Remember this is just one study. However, it does add another bit of information about the association of MCI and coffee.
Results from previous studies on MCI have been inconsistent. Some research has found positive results while others have found no benefit. Mixed results have also been found between coffee and forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s.
This likely means that there are factors affecting the results that the scientists aren’t aware of. At least not yet. Changes in coffee habits could very well explain some of the inconsistent results found from previous research.
Scientists are hoping the information will provide other methods to fight the issue of mild cognitive impairment. Doing so would help people remain productive members of society. Further studies will uncover the details, so time will tell.
Drink and Be Merry
Overall, it seems that coffee is pretty healthy for the general population. There are quite a few more benefits than simply keeping you awake. It’s been linked with improved memory, stress reduction, and even lower cases of depression.
Some people are more sensitive to coffee’s effects, but if you drink in moderation you should be fine. As more information is uncovered, I’ll be sure to keep you fine people informed.
In the meantime, I’ll continue drinking coffee from my oversized mug that could probably double as a soup bowl.
Image: David Hodgson