Coffee May Slow Progression to Dementia

Dementia was delayed for people with mild cognitive impairment who drank coffee

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at increased risk of developing dementia. Coffee may offer protection from the transition from MCI to dementia.

In a recent study, people who had higher blood levels of caffeine were less likely to progress from MCI to dementia over the two to four years they were tracked.

Coffee was the major source of caffeine for people in this study.

"Discuss any changes in your caffeine intake with your doctor."

The study, led by Chuanhai Cao, PhD, at the University of South Florida, enrolled 124 people, aged 65 and over. At the start of the study, they assessed cognitive abilities and caffeine blood levels.  

Then they followed for the patients for two to four years and assessed their cognitive ability to determine if they had any changes in diagnosis.

Patients who had caffeine levels greater than 1200 ng/ml – equal to about three cups of coffee – were less likely to progress from MCI to dementia.

The patients who had MCI and later progressed into dementia had about 51 percent lower blood levels of caffeine at the beginning of the study compared to those in which MCI remained stable.

The authors conclude that this study “provides the first direct evidence that caffeine/coffee intake is associated with a reduced risk of dementia or delayed onset, particularly for those who already have MCI.”

This study was published in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 9, 2012
Last Updated:
October 23, 2012