Dr Shannon Klekociuk
Coffee is a drink that many of us enjoy and, as most of us know, the main ingredient in coffee is caffeine, a stimulant that excites the nervous system and is responsible for that pick-me-up feeling. Scientists have known for a long time that caffeine can provide us with a short boost to our attentional processing, as well as our memory. So it seems logical to think that something that helps our cognition might actually be beneficial for diseases that impair our cognition.
Some studies have observed coffee drinkers over a long period of time and found that moderate coffee consumption may be associated with reduced dementia risk.
Unfortunately, this finding has not been consistently replicated. Other researchers have suggested that it might be the caffeine itself, rather than the coffee, that is beneficial to reducing dementia risk.
However, a recent meta-analysis, looking at many of these observational studies, was unable to reliably link caffeine consumption with a reduced risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
It is important to remember that coffee is a stimulant, and that too much coffee can have major ramifications for your health. Overall, its status as a protective factor against diseases like Alzheimer’s remains unclear, and certainly it represents an area where more research is needed.