Caffeine protects against Alzheimer/ dementia Essay

            Some people may think there is a connection with the caffeine intake and it helping to protect you from Alzheimer’s or dementia - Caffeine protects against Alzheimer/ dementia Essay introduction. It is thought that since caffeine already has its other affects such as being a stimulant, then it too could also cause one to have a range of cognitive disabilities. While many studies have been conducted in order to prove this connection, between caffeine and Alzheimer’s and dementia, the extent of the truth in this lay theory has yet to be discovered fully. When observing the findings of several studies on intake and effects of caffeine, the results were all leaning towards supportive of caffeine protecting against Alzheimer/ dementia.

            For instance, one of the studies found that “moderate consumption of coffee at midlife is associated with a decrease risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in late-life” (Eskelinen, Kivipelto, Ngandu, Soininen, and Tuomilehto, 2009, pg. 88).  The participants of this study came from Cardiovascular risk of factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE), which were randomly selected survivors of population-based random sample studied from a previous study. The random sample of “2,000 survivors aged 65-79 years in the end of 1997 were all invited to the re-examination follow-up time 21” (Eskelinen et al., 2009, pg. 88). Altogether 1409 individuals completed the examination, with 875 women and 534 men.

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The four things they looked at and took into consideration for their study was measurements, assessment of cognitive status, dietary assessment, and statistical analysis. After taking into consideration the few modifications, they found that moderate coffee consumption decreased risk of dementia. The three strengths to this study were they had a population-based design with high participation rates. Second, was the dietary information collected with the questionnaire previously. Thirdly, the information about coffee consumption and other parameters were already collected at midlife. The study concluded that “the results of moderate coffee consumption at midlife may decrease the risk of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s later in life” (Eskelinen et al., 2009, pg. 88).

            Furthermore, in the second study, caffeine intake was associated with a significantly lower risk for Alzheimer, independently of other possible confounding variable. This was a case control study with a total of 74 consecutive Alzheimer patients and 72 controls. They were evaluated to obtain 54 pairs matched for sex and age. The 54 patients with the probable Alzheimer’s attended clinics and underwent laboratory examinations, and some kind of brain activity, along with clinical background history. The controls of the study were people accompanying the patients at the outpatient clinics during the same period. Their only criteria for the controls were for them to have a normal score on the MMSE and the absence of any known neurological disorder. All the interviews were done face-to-face and used a “structured questionnaire that evaluated socio-demographic characteristics and medical history, including previous and current medication and another questionnaire assessing caffeine exposure, alcohol consumption and smoking habits” (Maia and Mendonca, 2002,p. 378).

This study counted how many dosages of each source were consumed during 20 years before Alzheimer diagnosis, multiplied by the respective concentrations of caffeine and then calculated the average daily caffeine intake for the period of 20 years that preceded the diagnosis of Alzheimer (Maia and Mendonca, 2002). Matching on age prohibited differences between Alzheimer patients and control subjects so they had similar ages, and likewise matching on sex distribution to be equal. It was found that the average disease duration from Alzheimer diagnosis to interview was 4.1 years. The study concluded that the present results suggest that caffeine intake may be a protective factor for Alzheimer’s.

            Finally, for the last study, the principle findings were that caffeine appeared to reduce cognitive decline in women without dementia. They did their examination in a community-based sample of subjects aged 65 years and over. The participants were 4, 197 women and 2,820 men from a population-based cohort recruited from three French cities. Cognitive performance, clinical diagnosis of dementia, and caffeine consumption were evaluated at baseline and at 2 and 4 year follow-ups. Men and women were found to differ on a number of characteristics such as, age, education, diabetes, cancer, body mass index, and other characters. The principle finds of the study are caffeine consumption itself is significantly associated with a wide range of variables also associated with cognitive decline and prospective study of caffeine consumption and cognitive performance shows a significant protective effect in women (Ancelin et al., 2007). Thus from the present study, the experimenters concluded that “women with a high rate of caffeine consumption show significantly less decline in verbal cognitive functioning, and to a lesser extent in a visuospatial memory over a 4 year period than women who are low or non-consumers” (Ancelin et al., 2007, 542).

            Overall, each study found their results to be fairly similar; the first asserts the point of how there is a decrease risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life there is moderate coffee consumption at midlife, the second study suggests caffeine intake may be a protective factor for Alzheimer’s, and the third study emphasizes how properties of caffeine appear to reduce cognitive decline. The limitations in the three studies were at what point may have caffeine constructed its beneficial effects, the reliance on self-reported data on coffee drinking, and the sample being too small to detect significant differences in the interactions analysis. Most importantly if the caffeine intake was found to be a primary factor in protecting against Alzheimer’s, then many more studies would have to be undergone to prove its ability.

            All of these studies signified a decent correlation with one another and the finding were about the same. They all took in the same factors such as measurements and other disabilities in which could be holding a person back from the rest of the group. They all picked persons within the same age range and looked into ideas on what and how caffeine could cause dementia/ Alzheimer’s. In conclusion, I believe a casual relationship between caffeine and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be confirmed in these empirical studies.


Ancelin, M.L, et al. (2007). The Neuroprotective effects of caffeine-A prospective population study (the Three City Study). Neurology, 69, 536-545. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.

Eskelinen, M. H., Kivipelto, M., Ngandu, T., Soininen H., and Tuomilehto, J. (2009). Midlife Coffee and Tea Drinking and the Risk of Late-Life Dementia: A Population-based CAIDE Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 16, 85-91. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.

Maia, L., and Mendonca, A (2002). Does caffeine intake protect from Alzheimer’s disease? European Journal of Neurology, 9, 377-382. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.


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