MILWAUKEE – A new study suggests a significant relationship between caffeine and dementia prevention, though it stops short of establishing cause and effect.
The study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, found higher caffeine intake in women age 65 and older was associated with reduced odds of developing dementia or cognitive impairment.
Among the 6,467 women in the study, self-reported caffeine consumption of more than 261 milligrams of caffeine was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of dementia over 10 years of follow-up. That level is equivalent to two to three 8-ounce cups of coffee per day, five to six 8-ounce cups of black tea, or seven to eight 12-ounce cans of cola.
“While we can’t make a direct link between higher caffeine consumption and lower incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia, with further study, we can better quantify its relationship with cognitive health outcomes,” said Ira Driscoll, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Research on this topic will be beneficial not only from a preventative standpoint but also to better understand the underlying mechanisms and their involvement in dementia and cognitive impairment,” she said.