Last weekend we met at a café in Hindustan Park (South Kolkata) for the weekly review meeting. For a change it was not our office in Diamond Park (Joka). While savouring the rich aroma of Colombian coffee our eyes fell on a statement displayed against a wall claiming consumption of coffee may help in arresting dementia and Alzheimer. We were intrigued and thus, decided to do a bit of study on our own and understand what has recent advances in the field of medicine has to offer to us. The following sections are an attempt to summarize the findings.
a) A research paper published in Nutrition (Volume 32, Issue 6, June 2016, Pages 628-636) on“Habitual coffee consumption and risk of cognitive decline/dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies” concluded by stating that the study suggested higher coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk for Alzheimer disease. However, it was added further, randomized controlled trials, or well-designed cohort studies are needed to determine the association between coffee consumption and cognitive decline, or dementia.
b) In yet another paper on “Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and prevention of late-life cognitive decline and dementia: A systematic review” in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging (March 2015, Volume 19, issue 3, pp. 313–328| observed that given the very limited therapeutic value of drugs currently used in the treatment of Alzheimer Disease(AD) and dementia, preventing or postponing the onset of AD and delaying or slowing its progression are becoming mandatory. Among diet-associated factors, coffee is best known psychoactive stimulant resulting in heightened alertness and arousal and improvement of cognitive performance. Besides its short-term effect, study of some long-term effects on brain function provided evidence that coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption or higher plasma caffeine levels may be protective against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia.
c) A research article “Association between Coffee Consumption and Incident Risk of Disabling Dementia in Elderly Japanese: The Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study”in Journal of
Alzheimer’s Disease(Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 491-500, 2016)investigated the association between coffee consumption and incident risk of dementia in an elderly Japanese population. 23,091 subjects aged ≥65 y living in Ohsaki City, northeastern Japan, responded to the baseline survey in 2006. It was observed that overall, coffee consumption was significantly associated with a lower risk of incident dementia. In addition, this significant inverse association was more remarkable among women, non-smokers, and non-drinkers. Coffee consumption is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident dementia.
The above research papers have not drawn any conclusive evidence of coffee consumption reducing the debilitating impact of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease on an individual. However, they have unequivocally indicated that it acts as protective against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia. Perhaps more research needs to be done in this domain before the clinching evidence can be drawn. It may also be noted that none of the research papers consulted by us seem to have included the Indian populace. Who knows the results may then then be quite different?