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Caffeine May Reduce Alzheimers 251

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-i-can't-remember-last-night dept.
thelars writes "This article discusses research that links coffee consumption to a reduced risk of alzheimers disease. According to the article, drinking at least three cups of coffee a day may reduce your risk of alzheimers by up to 60%. Time to stock up on Penguin mints..."
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Caffeine May Reduce Alzheimers

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  • hahahaha (Score:3, Funny)

    by Graspee_Leemoor (302316) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:22PM (#3889642) Homepage Journal
    Nicotine reduces risk of Alzheimer's too. I always new drinking 10 cups of coffee a day and chainsmoking was good for me...
  • hmmm coffee (Score:3, Funny)

    by Loopsnut (589418) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:22PM (#3889649)
    Now I have the ultimate excuse to stay up till 4am coding hyped up on caffiene, i want to be able to do it for fifty more years without forgetting how.
  • And the benefits of the caffeine will be offset by the aluminum in the cans
    • I don't have a link to PubMed or anything handy, but I thought the aluminium connection has been discarded. The story I heard was that the fixing solution that the original researchers used for preparing tissue sections for microscopy was contaminated with aluminium. Hence a noticeable concentration of aluminium was detected in the protein plaques on the microscope slide.

      Like I said...I don't have a link to back this up with at the moment...I'll take a look around.
  • I am saved (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    thank you jolt
  • Seniors all hopped up on coffee and/or Penguin mints. I only hope it will allow them to drive the speed limit and turn off their blinkers after a turn.
  • by Tar-Palantir (590548) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:25PM (#3889682)
    I have read that playing chess (or similar games) can also help against Alzheimer's. Supposedly, this is due to requiring the brain to work in a particular manner.
    I'd guess coffee does not help for the same reason . :)
    • by dytin (517293)
      Actually, it could be for the same reason. I think that chess, as well as crosword puzzles, other word games, etc. reduces the risk of alzheimer's because you use your brain a lot in these activities, similar to the principle of "use it or lose it". Perhaps drinking caffine also causes your brain to be used a lot more. I mean, if you're more awake and more alert, then you're also probably using your brain more.

      Of course, if this were true, then I'd imagine that halucinogenic drugs probably also reduce the risk of alzheimer's.
  • Penguin Mints? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ah...Penguin Mints are -loaded- with Aspartame, yet another chemical that some suspect could be Alzheimer-causing (amongst other things).

    Just go for a nice cup 'o Joe instead.
    • Funny, I've got a tin right here, and I don't see Aspartame or Nutrasweet or anything like that listed. Aren't products containing Aspartame supposed to have some warning on them too?
  • Sigh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by blackula (584329) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:26PM (#3889692)
    Can't even get a fucking topic right. It's "Alzheimer's."
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:26PM (#3889695)
    This article says that caffeine may reduce Alzheimers.

    However, this article [msnbc.com] says that alcohol may reduce Alzheimers.

    So in other words...the best thing I can do is drink Irish coffee?

    - JoeShmoe

    .
    • I think the key here is moderation...

      Oddly these things keep coming out on what is good for you. Guess what, that is called the Italian and French lifestyle. And generally coffee is not as good as espresso is.

      Also if you look at France and Italy they drink fresh coffee in those neat single serving machines and Italians love their espresso machines.
    • thats funny. I cant even remember how i get home from the bar after drinking.
    • Don't pay for the imported stuff. Drink Buzz Beer, brewed in a garage in Cleveland, Ohio.
    • Don't forget the cigar [cnn.com] . . .
    • > This article says that caffeine may reduce Alzheimers.
      However, this article [msnbc.com] says that alcohol may reduce Alzheimers.
      So in other words...the best thing I can do is drink Irish coffee?


      My guess is that the mechanism that supposedly reduces Alzheimers is the thinning of the blood.
      My un-educated theory is that the brain gets more blood flow when the blood is thinned out. It would be interesting to see if blood thinning drugs have the same effect, or if high cholesterol levels correlate to higher instances of Alzheimers.
  • by the coffee makers. think about it: if we start/continue to drink 3 cups of coffee a day, they can say it is because we drank all that coffee but if we don't, we will forget they ever propogated such lies. its a win-win situation. down with big caffeine! unless they have gotten to you all already.....
  • by bravehamster (44836) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:27PM (#3889710) Homepage Journal
    So you're telling me all these asshole on slashdot will still be know-it-alls when they're 90?

    • Yeah, but given the excessive caffiene consumption and sleep deprevation, they'll stuffer all sorts of other health problems, too.

      They are saying that sleep deprevation and caffiene is a surefire way to get, at the very least, Type II diabetes, later on in life.
    • You bastard! Now you got me wondering what Jon Katz is going to be like lecturing his grandkids:

      "Ah, yes, I still remember where I was when I watched the two towers come down on 9/11. That was a life changing event, I tell you. Back in my day, people actually tried to help each other out instead of withdrawing into these confangled virtual reality contraptions you kids play with these days. Hey, sit down Jeffery and listen. I ain't done with my story yet. Maybe you'll learn somethin'. Now where was I? Oh yes, that Coumbine shooting was a life changing event, I tell you. Did I ever tell you about that? I did? Well, I'm gonna tell you again so quit your squirming an' listen up. Now the important thing was that I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. We did it to protest the growing threat of globalism..."

      GMD

  • Parkinson's too (Score:2, Informative)

    by avoisin (105703)
    Not only that, but it has been shown to have great effects on Parkinson's disease as well. I know several folks personally where it has had a substantial effect in delaying onset and even reducing symptoms!

    Check out this CNN story [cnn.com]
    • Re:Parkinson's too (Score:2, Informative)

      by bsDaemon (87307)
      caffeine, like speed, riddlin, marijuna, etc, stimulates the scretion of the nuerotransmitter dopemine. Dopemine defficiany is the cause of parkinsons. So smokers, dopers, and Pete Townshend are all parkinson-free, too.
  • Cause and effect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gwernol (167574) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:28PM (#3889727)
    Interesting. I've seen studies suggesting that increased brain activity throughout life also correlates with lower incidences of Alzheimers. People who read a lot, do crosswords, basically stay mentall active seem less likely to develop this disease.

    I wonder if what is actually happening is the caffeine allows you to do more mental work, which in turn reduces your risk of Alzheimers.

    Pure speculation, of course, but it would be interesting if someone could do the experiement to try to validate this theory.
    • alcohol may reduce Alzheimers

      Then, how do you explain that guys post above?

      I definetly don't get drunk and play crossword puzzles.

    • Re:Cause and effect? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Peyna (14792) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:34PM (#3889794) Homepage
      I wouldn't put it at the caffeine allowing you to do more mental work, but that heavy consumers of caffeine tend to drink lots of caffeinated beverages because their brains are already busy and they need to stay perked up. So, I would say that maybe a higher amount of caffeine consumers are already move active in the brain department. How many people drink 3 cups of coffee a day and then sit in front of the tv for 12 hours?
      • Re:Cause and effect? (Score:3, Informative)

        by gwernol (167574)
        I wouldn't put it at the caffeine allowing you to do more mental work, but that heavy consumers of caffeine tend to drink lots of caffeinated beverages because their brains are already busy and they need to stay perked up.

        Another interesting and plausible theory. As is so often the case, we need a proper controlled study to distinguish the correlation from the cause and effect.

      • How many people drink 3 cups of coffee a day and then sit in front of the tv for 12 hours?

        I need the energy for when I go on a pr0n-renting spree.

        ;-)
        • I need the energy for when I go on a pr0n-renting spree.

          Renting porn? Shame on you! Aren't you afraid that we're going to laugh at you?

          You should be downloading it for free instead! And you call yourself a geek! Hmmmph!

          GMD

          • You should be downloading it for free instead!

            I rent the DVD and rip it, then put it in my Kaaza shared directory for ALL to download for free. pr0n for the masses! H@cK tH3 pL@N3t!!!!
            • I rent the DVD and rip it, then put it in my Kaaza shared directory

              DAMN! What the hell is your IP? I just keep getting the same damn Rocco flicks with different names over and over. Or those damn Vercci ones...

              Errr...
              Well, a friend asked me to type this.

              Yea. Yea, that's the ticket. Yea. A friend. Yea.
      • Well, they did say coffee rather than caffine.
        But if it is caffine, then lots of soda is drunk in front of TV sets.

        Everybody seems to be assuming that it's the caffine. And it might be. But that's not what was reported.
        • Re:Cause and effect? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HiThere (15173)
          Sorry to reply to myself, but I just reread the article.
          There is a line in there that says "Scientists suspect that the caffine...", but the reported results don't say that. So I suspect that their experimental results are specifically on coffee. (It would be interesting to know if they were on people who drank any particular kind of coffee, or if they were on any particular group of people [there might be other commonalities].)

    • So perhaps those who drink lots of caffeine don't live long enough to develop Alzheimer's?
    • by Preposterous Coward (211739) on Monday July 15, 2002 @07:08PM (#3890085)
      Interesting theory. Moderate doses of caffeine have long been known to have positive effects on learning and memory, at least in rats running mazes -- which seems similar enough to programmers navigating cubicle farms that we can be confident the results should generalize ;-)
    • My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's despite being a high school teacher and coach for many, many years. I would have to say his occupation would have kept him pretty sharp. This isn't empirical evidence enough to refute a claim that crosswords, etc. don't help, but I would take such an assertion with a grain of salt just the same.
  • You docters have been telling us to drink 8 glasses of gravy a day. -Homer S.
  • Well, I guess at least 98% of the people who read Slashdot, don't have to worry about Alzheimers. I drink a good 5-6 cans of soda a day, along with 2 cups of coffie a day.
  • Isn't anyone else terrified of hyperactive, forgetful old people? "OhwellIknowIwassupposedtodosomethingIthinkIwasgoi ngtocheckthemailorwasthatthebluejaywheredobluejays liveisitinAlaskaIdon'tquiteremember... Oh, hi there."
  • by bahtama (252146) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:32PM (#3889772) Homepage
    Bah, 60%! Having a fatal heart attack reduces your risk of having Alzheimers by 100%! So get back to that high-fat diet! ;)
  • Right. Here's how it goes.

    "Good morning, Mrs. Smith, I'd like to ask you a few questions."

    "Little Johnny? Is that you?"

    "No, Mrs Smith, I'm doing a study on coffee and Altzheimers..."

    "What did you do with my cat?"

    "Uh.. right... anyway..."

    "Who are you? Why are you in my room..."

    Yah - like I trust the memory of people with Altzheimers.

    My grandmother had it. My grandparents would pick me up, and we would head off somewhere. She would ask about 4 times where we were going. She confused me with my dad constantly.
    • My favorite Alzheimer's experience involves my wonderful grandma, as well, who has been dead for quite some time now.

      When we were growing up we'd go visit, and my grandma would always ask my brother and I if we had a dog. We'd politely say, "No gramma, we don't have a dog." and five minutes later be repeating ourselves. Her response was also, always, the same: Every boy should have a dog.

      Finally, my mum grew so sick of it that she said, "I know lyin is wrong but if she asks you one more damn time you tell her you have a dog!"

      A few years later, we were on a fairly lengthy road trip of a few hours and about 30 minutes away from the house (Away from any place to use a restroom of any sort, even the bad ones) she pipes up, "Excuse me, I need to use the restroom." -- we start to panic, and explain to her she'll have to hold it for just a bit longer. By the time we got back to the house she had completely forgotten (and was insisting she never had to) about going to the bathroom. That worried us, but luckily the car seat was still dry. :)
      • Finally, my mum grew so sick of it that she said, "I know lyin is wrong but if she asks you one more damn time you tell her you have a dog!"

        Or just get a damn dog! Everyone should have a dog... Everyone should have a dog as sweet and lovely as mine.

  • by Koyaanisqatsi (581196) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:33PM (#3889781)
    Should we now scrap all that other studies that suggest coffee consumption can be linked to higher blood pressure, which can in turn be linked to higher risk of heart attacks?
  • by EraseEraseMe (167638) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:33PM (#3889783)
    By dying earlier of other complications such as hypertension.

    Short Term side effects of excessive consumption of caffeine include:

    Nervousness, anxiety, irritability, headache, disturbed sleep, and stomach upset or peptic ulcers. In women, it may aggravate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
    • .. and while we're talking about the bad side of caffeine, don't forget heart arrhythmias.

      http://www.naspe-patients.org/patients/substance s/ diet.html
      http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/ heart/other /arrhyth.htm#causes
    • "Nervousness, anxiety, irritability, headache, disturbed sleep, and stomach upset or peptic ulcers. In women, it may aggravate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome"

      Holy shit, I've got all of those! (except the PMS thing).
  • Caffeine May Reduce Alzheimers while needing to consume at least three cups of coffee a day while arrhythmias [familydoctor.org](heart problems) may be caused by excessive caffeine

    its all about which you want to go first, your brain or heart. decisions... decisions...
  • Coffee != Caffeine (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Not that I know or not, but why is there an assumption that if coffee has some benefit that that benefit is due to caffiene? Coffee is some complex bean-juice!
    • Good point (Score:2, Informative)

      by DinZy (513280)
      There are a slew of other chemicals in coffee so perhaps one of these or a combination of many might be the key. There really isnt a way to test this though.
  • from the but-i-can't-remember-last-night dept.

    don't drink so much coffee.

  • Too bad I quit drinking caffeine going on a year ago now. Hmmm... now I forgot why I quit, oh well.

    Actually, I found it very surprising all the things that have caffeine in them. Over half of all pop, chocolate, tea, excedrin, coffee/cappuccino yogurt, etc. (I never ate that kind of yogurt before though.)
    • Don't forget about ice cream, energy drinks, green tea, desserts, and LOTS of medication.

      I have a heart rhythm disorder and I've been avoiding caffeine for over a year.. it's really difficult at first. But it's amazing how much better I feel without it in my diet. I'm not exhausted and headachy on my weekends like I used to be..
  • by koreth (409849) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:40PM (#3889844)
    Given the link between sleep and memory (short-term memory is thought by many researchers to transfer to long-term during sleep, for example) I wonder if there'll be a similar effect among users of modafinil [slashdot.org] and other sleep-suppression drugs. Or is it something unique to caffeine that has nothing to do with its effect on sleep cycles?
    • I wonder if there'll be a similar effect among users of modafinil

      It'd sure be nice. I used modafinil a lot back when I was in school, and it was so much smoother than drinking coffee. No big high or low, just a banishing of tiredness and a minor feeling of alertness. Combine that with reducing risk of Alzheimers and you'd get one heck of a combo.
  • aluminum causes it... so all the jolt that you been drinking dont count. it balances out.

    However I beleive that it is only cooking in aluminum that does it... thats why cast aluminum pots are very bad. and aluminum foil. but their not gunna tell you that are they. nope. you buy too much of the stuff as a society for it to be a concern.

    thats why i never cook anything in aluminum - and try to avoid anything served in it. like microwave foods.

  • Don't double your coffee intake just yet...

    I read Caffeine Blues by Stephen Cherniske a while back. Before the book, I was a regular coffee and soda drinker, and Penguin Mints were a staple on my desk. Since reading it, I've been caffeine-free for 6 months. And I've felt much better ever since.

    The book cites tons of studies, and none of them claim anything beneficial about caffeine consumption. At best, most industry-funded studies showed no harm, and some of the more nuetral studies showed potential problems associated with chronic caffeine intake.

    In fact, prior to reading this book, the only good thing I read about caffeine was about 10 years ago on Hyperreal [hyperreal.org]'s chemistry archive. I found a tidbit that said some study showed that coffee drinkers were less prone to suicide than non-coffee drinkers. I can;t seem to locate it, though.

    I'm not preaching to anyone -- I still sneak in a morning coffee. And I really do miss my regular morning cup. However, if a die-hard (and quite rational) coffee drinker can be turned by this book, then all I'm saying is tread carefully. Thumb through this book while drinking a latte at Barnes and Noble. :)

    • Hang on there, mate.

      Let's get this straight. You read this book, that was slanted against caffeine, that said, essentially, no one can find anything of benefit from caffeine, and some studies can find potential problems from cronic intake.

      Were you consuming caffeine because it was cool? Or maybe you were consuming caffeine because it's a mild stimulant, and can aid in focus and in staving off sleep. So, in point of fact, there is a benefit to caffeine, so long as it isn't overused.

      On the one hand, I'm failing to see your point about this book that scared you off caffeine, and on the other, I'm upset that you could be scared off caffiene and describe yourself as "quite rational."

      Case not made.

      • This is the first study that I'm aware of that shows a possible health benefit from caffeine. Sure, it may have emotional benefits, but so can any harmful substance. Sniffing glue or smoking cigarettes might make me a more productive worker, but the related substances are almost certainly unhealthy.

        I simply stated that this might be only study showing a positive health benefit to caffeine, and that there are plenty of studies showing no effect, and even a few showing negative effects. My anectdotal account of my reading the book was just that.

        The book's author concludes that 3 cups of coffee per day (what the headline summary states) is way too much. Daily intake (like a morning cup of cofee) is "chronic". If you want his analysis, read the book.

        All I'm saying is that readers should be cautious before they believe that their coffee and Mountain Dew habbit might actually be healthy.

        And I never drank coffee to look "cool". Coffee is some fine-tasting stuff! :)

  • Go to the source man! I generally refuse to make any comment on any scientific study until I've read the publication. Those of you submitting stories on a new biomedical science publication, please remember to at least point to the PubMed [nih.gov] abstract of the paper [nih.gov]. For those of you wanting to comment on the study, please read it [blackwell-synergy.com], before doing so. If any of you can provide free access to the paper, please post it here! Thanks.
  • I wouldn't get too excited - the fact that small-sample studies this like manage to get published amazes me. They're using two sample populations of 54 people for a disease state who's incidence, from what we currently understand, is probably affected by DOZENS of parameters over a span of decades.

    Even the most basic course in statistics won't let you put much trust in these results. You could probably show a correlation in the same small population for tv viewing habits or propensity for wearing tinfoil hats.
    -j
  • by hauntfox (152706) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:50PM (#3889946)
    Retrospective studies like this are too susceptible to confounding. One obvious issue would be that more intelligent/better off people might drink more coffee, and take longer for the disease to show up. There are a lot of variables that go into Alzheimer's disease. Dementia is usually the sum of a lot of different "insults" to the brain. So start at your baseline intelligence, then take away the brain that died with any damage done. Little strokes ("vascular dementia") are a big contributor, and smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all promote them. (Folic acid and vitamin B6 are showing promise at reducing/preventing this problem.) Shear damage to neuronal axons, like with a fall off a horse (President Reagan) or boxing or football will take you down a notch. This makes the dementia more obvious. Dementia can be rated by several scales, but the most common is the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE). As dementia progresses, it can be treated with some novel medications that (simplisticly) amplify the signals through the damaged brain. In spite of the pun in my "subject", dementia is no laughing matter, and would be a fate worse than death in many people's minds. People with dementia usually don't have insight into the problem, though. They continue blissfully unaware of their forgetfullness. It is most stressful for their family. I am a doctor, (IAAD?) btw. Regards.
  • I knew it, I fucking was saying this all along, now I am waiting for the artical saying staying up all night online improves your health as well
  • Except when I tell people about the good effects of a Mocha from my Yahoo account they wind up drinking Expresso? Of course this could be a media insert from Starbucks. I wonder if someone got Minority Report confused with an actual NEWS item. Lately that's been happening a lot, especially off FOX and NBC.
  • my family drinks a ton of coffee, my grandfather had at least 6 cups a day for most of his life, he died of alzheimers.

    Now someone pay me for proving this study wrong =)
  • Isn't it more likely that you will die from a stroke earlier if you drink coffee hence not live as long as a non coffee drinker and hence not have as high a chance of getting Alzheimers?
  • Catch-22 (Score:3, Funny)

    by A_Non_Moose (413034) on Monday July 15, 2002 @06:55PM (#3889999) Homepage Journal
    Now where did I put those Penguin Mints?
  • Caffine is an alcaloid. Alcaloids are known to be psychoactive, and in small quantities almost all are stimulants. There is a vast array of research into Alcaloids and their effects on the brain. Most of the researchers tend to say that, under the proper usage environment, philosophy, and conditions, these chemicals can be very beneficial. Terrence McKenna (crackpot? perhaps) was convinced that they contributed to the dawn of language and logic in human and human ancestors. Check out the link above for some more information on caffine and other alcaloids.
  • I drink like 4 coffees a day and a bottle of cola.
  • Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    Most likely, those with a high caffine consumption don't live long enough to get alzeimers.

  • by nihilogos (87025)
    Usually it's just the media that can't grok the difference between correlation and cause, but it appears that this time even neurological researchers can't figure it out.
  • It's not well understood but tobacco modulates schizophrenia so patients are heavy smokers.

  • Yeah, it'll save you from Alzheimers, but what about that heart attack at the age of 28 ?!
  • I suppose my grandfather was the other fourty percent. Although he drank alot of coffee, I still watched his condition deteriorate over five years, until his life finally ended (though rather abruptly, however welcomed due to his current state of mind) due to pneumonia.

    I watched him completely forget his surroundings, even forget who his own family was. I remember the last Christmas I spent with him; he was just a mindless body confused and frustrated by the fact that he could not understand anything that went on around him.

    So I guess that coffee might help, but watching my grandfather experience Alzeihmer's even as a coffee drinker leaves me a bit skeptical (I know, I know, other factors play into it as well, such as genetics and other lifestyle factors, but still...)
  • I suffer from a chemical imbalance that causes an anxiety disorder. Because of this, I can't really tolerate coffee. I drink tea, about 3 cups a day, which is about the equivalent of one cup of coffee. I'm screwed. I can handle the coffee just fine with valium, so I guess I just need to get my doctor to give me enough valium to support drinking 3 cups of coffee a day :-)
  • If 3 cups a day == 60% reduction, then my 6 cups a day must mean 120% reduction! Not only will I not forget things, I'll remember things I never learned in the first place!
  • ...usage can reduce the risk of Alzheimers, geek caffiene intake must be able to reverse it. Some geeks consume enough caffeine to not only prevent their own Alzheimers, but to cure anyone within three hops from them.
  • Wow, without Alzheimers I'll have all of my senses in peek performance for my experiences with ulcers, heart disease, mood swings, and blood coming out of my butt at 75. Bring it on ;)
  • In an effort to improve my health I haven't had any coff... damn I forgot what I was going to type.
  • I'm a bit sceptical (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Telecommando (513768) on Monday July 15, 2002 @10:25PM (#3891354)
    My mother-in-law was a waitress for most of her adult life and a total caffine addict, 3-4 POTS of coffee a day, she got headaches if she didn't get enough caffine. When she couldn't have coffee she'd have Mountain Dew or really, really strong tea.

    Now she has rapidly-advancing Alzheimer's and it's not a pretty sight. She's in perfect physical health, strong heart & lungs and may last another 5 years until her brain deteriorates to the point where it forgets how to breathe.

    She's only been diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the last 2 years and she's already forgotten her children, husband, and grandchildren. She can't dress herself, can barely feed herself (you have to keep reminding her to pick up the spoon and eat) and will sometimes hold animated, rambling, incoherent conversations with inanimate objects. Yet somehow she still remembers her dog, who stays loyally by her side, her constant companion.

    It's a sad, sad disease and reminds me of what my grandmother once told me when I was small, "There are things worse than death and scarier, too." I didn't understand then, but I do now.

    They may be onto something, but I'll be a bit sceptical until they do more research. And I'll still have another cup of coffee or two. Not necessarily because I believe it will help (My aunt has Alzheimer's as well, she's always in a fetal position and totally unresponsive now.) but because I enjoy it. (And some days I NEED it. Sleep? What's that?)
  • My mom had Alzheimer's at age 55 and she drank about 3-4 cups of coffee every day her whole life.

    If you are intelligent note this in the article:
    "The UK Alzheimers Society urged caution in interpreting the findings, saying studies examining the link between dementia and diet and lifestyle could give a clearer understanding."
  • New research shows that healthy elderly people, with no signs of the brain disease, had consumed an average of three to four cups a day since the age of 25. However, those with the debilitating illness drank, on average, just one cup of coffee each day.

    There are hundreds of uncommon chemicals in coffee. The article doesn't present any evidence that it's the caffeine in coffee that is producing the beneficial effect, just that there's a correlation between coffee and reduced alzheimers.

    The article goes on to state:
    Scientists found people with alzheimers drank 74mg of caffeine a day - the equivalent of one cup of coffee or two to three cups of tea. Those without the disease averaged 200mg a day.

    but these measurements are clearly bogus, since this is a retrospective study which never actually measured the caffeine content of the coffee the users have ingested over the years. They're simply taking the average caffeine content of a cup of coffee and doing a bit of multiplication.

    Of course, to really find out, you'd have to do a study of regular coffee drinkers vs. decaf drinkers, and decaf hasn't been available long enough to properly do such a study. Even then, most decaffeination processes use nasty chemicals or excessive heat, which will alter the whole chemical balance anyhow. So, you'd really have to do a long term study of straight caffeine supplementation vs. null, and, my, science is hard.

    I, of course, don't receive the European Journal of Neurology, but this really sounds like, "Coffee is beneficial, it must be the caffeine, yay!, we don't have to feel bad about being addicts."

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