Over 55 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia, accounting for between 50% and 75% of dementia cases, according to experts. AD cases are expected to increase as the population ages. A Reliable Source.
AD is a difficult disease that is not a natural part of ageing. It alters the brain in complex ways, which can result in memory loss and cognitive decline.
A new study conducted in Australia has discovered evidence suggesting a link between the amount of coffee consumed and the rate of cognitive decline in older adults. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience earlier this year.
Earlier research has indicated that coffee may help prevent the onset of cognitive disorders. The authors of this new study sought to delve deeper into this.
According to Dr. Samantha Gardener, the paper’s lead author, if additional research confirms this connection, “coffee consumption may one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of [AD].”
“It’s a simple thing that people can change,” she continues. It may be especially beneficial for individuals who are at risk of cognitive decline but have not yet developed symptoms.”
Investigating the connection
The research team is based at Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University. The researchers analysed data from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers, and Lifestyle (AIBL) longitudinal study, in which participants were followed for over a decade.
The study enrolled 227 adults aged 60 years or older who were not showing signs of cognitive decline at the time of enrolment. The team used a questionnaire to elicit information about the amount and frequency of coffee consumed by participants.
They then conducted cognitive assessments at baseline and 18-month intervals using a variety of psychological measures. Six cognitive domains were assessed, including episodic recall memory, recognition memory, executive function, language, attention, and processing speed, as well as the AIBL Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC).
The PACC score is a composite score derived from memory, executive function, and cognition tests. Research has demonstrated that it is capable of reliably detecting the early signs of cognitive decline.
PET brain scans were performed on a subset of 60 participants to assess beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain. A further 51 participants underwent MRI scans to determine the extent of their brain volume atrophy.