• April 16, 2024

Opinion: The latest Alzheimer’s risk? Coffee

Looks like I’ll switch to iced tea in the morning.

Grim News of the week is a new study that says too much coffee can shrink the brain and cause dementia.

And of all the paths I don’t want to go, that’s about number one. Dementia not only kills you, it happens slowly – you are exposed to years of humiliation initially and are prone to neglect and abuse.

A new study of nearly 18,000 people ages 37 to 73 found that those who drank more than six cups of coffee a day were 53% more likely to have dementia. On the one hand, six cups of coffee are a lot. On the flip side, 53% is a big, big increase.

“Taking all possible permutations into account, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly linked to reduced brain volume – essentially drinking more than six cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke,” says research director Kitty Pham, PhD student at the University of South Australia.

Professor Elina Hyponnen adds, “Together with other genetic evidence and a randomized controlled trial, these data strongly suggest that high levels of coffee consumption can affect brain health.”

Yikes

OK, so there are studies going both ways about coffee and brain health. “Lifelong coffee / caffeine consumption has been linked to the prevention of cognitive decline and a reduced risk of stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.” graduated from the medical journal Practical Neurology only five years ago.

But if we know one thing about brain health, dementia, and Alzheimer’s, it’s how little anyone knows. Many of the studies on coffee and brain health seem to involve small numbers of people and find correlations rather than causalities. Perhaps people with healthier brains are more likely to drink coffee than the other way around.

On the other hand there is this study who found caffeine withdrawal symptoms increased blood flow to the brain. and this study who found that caffeine consumption can decrease the volume of gray matter in the brain even over a short period of 10 days.

It is impossible to make an ideal study because you cannot effectively lock up two large, representative samples of people for several decades, feed some of them coffee and others a placebo, and see what happens.

The latest study conducted in Australia is based on data from the massive United Kingdom Biobank Database.

Hyponnen, of the University of South Australia, says the data contains a cautionary note regarding overconsumption of coffee. A cup or two of coffee a day can be fine, she says. If you drink a lot of coffee – and six cups a day is enough – they will find cause for concern. So if you are a light coffee drinker then maybe there is nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, I’m not an easy drinker. And I would do a lot to minimize my risk of dementia. Like many of you, I’ve seen it up close. And my souvenir was: Please, Lord, not me.

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias currently kill 6 million Americans and torture their families. There’s no cure, vaccine, or Operation Warp Speed ​​to find one really fast.

Noisy Alzheimer’s Association, It costs Americans $ 300 billion a year to care for people with dementia. Federal funding for research is $ 3 billion.

I really like coffee and I make my own cold brew using the amazing high tech way they charge $ 5 for this stuff by leaving a glass of freshly ground coffee and water in the refrigerator overnight. But when it comes down to it, I’m not married to coffee. Any CDS or caffeine delivery system will do me fine. That’s why I like to switch to iced tea – which is even easier to do because the tea comes in a bag and doesn’t have to be filtered. Until now the proof about tea and the brain seems happier.

The biggest danger is that they will do another study and find out that tea also causes dementia. If that happens, I’d have to cut out caffeine. Or maybe I could stop studying science.

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Jack

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