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Caffeine May Reduce Risk of Cognitive Decline

Study finds dose-response between caffeine intake and cognitive decline

MONDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women who drink three or more cups of a caffeinated drink such as coffee or tea per day seem to have a lower risk of cognitive decline after age 65 than women who drink one or fewer cups per day, according to a report published online Aug. 6 in Neurology.

Karen Ritchie, Ph.D., of INSERM in Montpellier, France, and colleagues studied 7,017 community-dwelling individuals (4,197 women) aged 65 and over, for a period of four years, to understand the relationship between caffeine consumption and cognitive performance.

In women (but not in men), there was a dose-effect between amount of caffeine consumed and odds of cognitive decline on both the Isaacs and Benton tests of cognitive performance. The odds ratio for cognitive decline on the Isaacs test for women drinking one to two units of caffeine per day was 0.91, and 0.66 for women drinking more than three units per day. No such effect was seen with the Mini-Mental State Examination test. Coffee and tea produced equivalent effects in this study.

"From our study it appears that caffeine may only be useful in attenuating mild forms of cognitive decline, with no clear benefit in preventing Alzheimer disease," the authors write.

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