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Medicine Science

Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's 242

Posted by kdawson
from the more-coffee-please-wait-what dept.
Amenacier writes "Recent studies by Finnish and Swedish researchers have shown that drinking moderate amounts of coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in people. The reason for this is as yet unknown, although it has been hypothesized that the high levels of antioxidants found in coffee may play a role in preventing dementia and Alzheimer's. Alternatively, some studies have shown that coffee can protect nerves, which may help prevent Alzheimer's. Other studies have shown that coffee may also help to protect against diabetes, another disease which has been shown to have links to Alzheimer's disease. However, researchers warn against drinking too much coffee, as 3 cups or more may cause hallucinations."
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Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's

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  • Damn.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:10AM (#26481895)
    Now where did I put that cup of coffee... ?
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      You put it in the mailbox, Mr. Henderson.
  • Joke. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:10AM (#26481901) Homepage Journal

    An old couple both have Alzheimers. They're watching TV and an advert for a burger joint comes on.

    "Hey," the man says, "burgers would be great! Could you make some? I'd like lettuce, tomatoes and onions on mine. Don't forget! Lettuce. Tomatoes. Onions."

    Wife replies "Lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Got it. Lettuce, tomatoes and onions."

    About 2 hours later she comes out of the kitchen and hands him a plate of bacon and eggs. "You idiot," he cries, "you forgot the toast!"
  • Sleep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by conureman (748753) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:11AM (#26481911)

    Drink moderately and don't forget to rest. I wonder if this correlation is caused by the coffee?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jerep (794296)

      Drink moderately and don't forget to rest.

      I can't seem to do both of these, either I drink moderately and fall asleep mid-sentence or I drink to to keep myself awake and spend the night reading slashdot and writing code.

      But after yesterday's post about caffeine induced hallucinations I decided to slack off on coffee and now I wonder where all my friends have gone, at least i can still write... zzz

  • by bagboy (630125) <neo AT arctic DOT net> on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:13AM (#26481927)
    Now I'll be able to remember all of those awesome hallucinations I've been having!
    • Now I'll be able to remember all of those awesome hallucinations I've been having!

      Forget the hallucination stuff. Look at the spider web studies.

      Various studies have been done giving drugs to spiders, and using their webs as evidence of the effects. My family doctor has a poster of these webs in his offices to show patients what these substances can do to you, and I think most people would be shocked at how extremely the spiders were affected by caffeine, which you can see in this photo [substation.co.nz].

      My wife's mother has Alzheimer's, and she lives with us, so I'm acutely aware of what it does to people, and heavy doses of caffeine is definitely the lesser of two evils here. But it will still be nice to have a treatment that doesn't have it's own harsh side effects.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Dose is important. What caffeine dosage were the spiders on?

        Also, caffeine is used by plants as a pesticide vs insects so it may affect spiders more than humans even on a per body weight dose. Though spiders aren't insects I won't be surprised if they are closer to insects than humans are when it comes to caffeine.
      • by Smauler (915644) on Friday January 16, 2009 @01:22PM (#26484707)

        Various studies have been done giving drugs to spiders, and using their webs as evidence of the effects. My family doctor has a poster of these webs in his offices to show patients what these substances can do to you,

        I'd agree with that. I had a couple of cups the other day, and my web turned out completely crap - didn't catch any flies either. You know, not all of us have been bitten by a radioactive spider or are in any other way closely related to spiders. You'd be better off warning people off chocolate by showing pictures of dead dogs - at least they're mammals.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16, 2009 @01:28PM (#26484789)

        You should have linked to the video version [youtube.com] instead.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Duke of URL (10219)

        No matter what your mother-in-law says, you're not an insect. It is an insecticide of sorts and is a useful way for the plant to prevent insect problems. Caffeine has very different effects on humans.

        See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffiene [wikipedia.org]

        And better yet, read: The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug

    • by jd (1658)

      No, you'll just hallucinate that you can remember the awesome hallucinations.

  • by bossanovalithium (1396323) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:14AM (#26481937)
    So if I drink 4 cups a day I won't get Alzheimers and I will hallucinate .... good, cause i want to remember the good ones.
  • I'm NEVER getting Alzheimer's!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jerep (794296)

      Nope, life has something much worse for us caffeine addicted people, parkinson.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rwalker429 (1452827)
        Source here? The only correlation between caffeine and parkinson I ever heard about was supposedly preventative.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Nathrael (1251426)
      Well...once, I thought like that as well. But after some time, I forgot drinking my coffee and...uh, what was I about to say again?
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Combine these results with the protective effect of cannabis [bbc.co.uk], and I must be damn near immune.

  • This reminds me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kral_Blbec (1201285)

    of the people who claim that "wine" is good for you one glass a day. Fools! Its not the wine, its stuff from the grapes, which mind you are also present in fresh grapes, rasins, and grape juice. Wine gets the props though cause then it makes people feel better about getting drunk every night.

    Same here, ya there might be a few healthy tidbits, but the negatives far out weight the health benifits.

    • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:27AM (#26482119) Homepage Journal

      Actually, you're wrong. ANY alcohol, in moderation, has the same effect.

      The flavinoids in grapes are also benefisial, but any alcohol "just works."

      Teetotalers die younger than those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol.

      • by zappepcs (820751) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:35AM (#26482237) Journal

        Which is great for me. They've been telling me for years that I'm overdoing things. meh Drink a few beers, lower stress levels, drink coffee all day at the keyboard, eat only when I'm hungry. Exercise now and then. Stay away from pharmaceuticals. Normal sorts of stuff. Dreams? Hallucinations? Sleep problems? Not me, and I can sleep anywhere. Dreams are good, hate the recursive ones where you dream you woke up, but it's all good.

        I knew if I waited long enough there would be a study that showed what I do is not only not bad for me, but in all likelihood good for me. Shame that one study about semen preventing cervical cancer if taken orally was fake!

        • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Friday January 16, 2009 @11:23AM (#26482929) Homepage Journal

          The worst part is that we've had several generations of misinformation about the "evils of drink" because of religious zealots who accepted the backing of the Women's Christian Temperance Union [wikipedia.org].

          We still see their effect today with churches that use grape juice instead of wine for communion:

          Although many times the WCTU was very involved in religion in a positive manner, they did not agree that wine should be used in their ceremonies. They asked the Church to stop using wine in their ceremonies during an Episcopal convention, and to use un-fermented grape juice instead. Their direct resolution stated that they wanted the church to use grape juice because wine contained "the narcotic poison, alcohol, which cannot truly represent the blood of Christ."

      • by saider (177166) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:49AM (#26482473)

        The benefits of alcohol depend on which specialist you talk to. A cardiologist might recommend it because the alcohol tends to reduce plaque build up in the arteries. A gastroenterologist will tell you to avoid it because metabolizing alcohol leads to fatty build-up in the liver. The neurologists tell you that it kills your nerve cells.

        What this all means depends on your body chemistry. If you come from a family with a history of heart trouble, the alcohol might help keep that under control. Sure you'll get some fat build up in the liver, but your body can cope with that. Someone with a history of degenerative neurological disorders might want to shy away from it.

        Most things in medicine are trade-offs and affect people differently.

        • We now know that the "alcohol kills nerve cells" is wrong in low doses. The "100,000 brain cells per drink" is a myth. As for the fatty buildup in the liver, that's also related only to *over-consumption*, so there's no downside to moderate consumption, and a definite set of benefits.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by noidentity (188756)
          Sorry for the analogy, but it illustrates the dynamic well in my mind: Several people are standing on a roof. Walking ten steps north will put some near the center, and others very close to the north edge. Similar for ten steps in other directions. Walking in any direction makes everyone closer to that edge, but for those dangerously close to another edge, the tradeoff is worth it. And if the goal is to be near the center, each person should walk a different direction; advice that "walking north is good fo
      • by D Ninja (825055)

        Teetotalers die younger than those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol.

        ...which may have absolutely nothing to do with alcohol.

        People who avoid alcohol completely may also be more uptight, more prone to stress, less able to relax, etc, etc. THAT may be why they die earlier and it has nothing to do with the fact that they didn't do shots with their buddies last Friday.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Subsequent to the studies that say wine is good for you are some more studies that say the same benefits can be found with moderate use of any type of alcohol.
    • Same here, ya there might be a few healthy tidbits, but the negatives far out weight the health benifits.

      Actually, that's not true, unless you can point out the negatives of drinking 175ml of red wine per day. Good luck, because they do that and more in countries with some of the highest life expectancies in Europe. The thing about food is that what is good for you is usually good for you in small amounts, but that what is bad for you is NOT usually bad for you in small amounts. All things in moderation, and there are very few of these 'negatives'. That's what they mean by a balanced diet.

    • It is also the alcohol. Low to Moderate amounts of alcohol can have healthy effects as well; http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/10/1974569.htm [abc.net.au]. As long as you're not alcohol intolerant of course.

    • by sjames (1099) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:43AM (#26482367) Homepage

      If one glass of wine is getting you drunk, you should see a doctor immediately.

    • I know this is /. but did you even read the summary? In both cases, researchers say that MODERATION is the key.

      And what "stuff" are you talking about? Sugar? Water? Vitamins? How about giving us some information to back up your claims?

      IIRC the alcohol consumption advice was something like "one 5 fluid ounce (150 ml) glass of red wine per day". If you're getting drunk on that then stop drinking.
      http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alcoholconsumption.html
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Therefore....

      I need to drink a LOT of coffee during the day, and then switch to wine by late afternoon to counteract the jitteryness, and then finish with a good drunk so I can sleep at night with my system full of stimulant called caffeine?

      BRILLIANT! I'll live forever!!!!

    • One thing Americans always forget. Moderation (not in the terms of judging comments).
      Caffeine, Alcohol, Sugar, Carbohydrates, Meat, Fat, Salt, ... Are all good for you with the correct Moderation. Be when we say X is good for you we rush to take as much X as possible as y is good for your y*z must be better.
      A glass of wine a day is much different then getting drunk.
      A small cup of coffee in the morning helpful to give you that little pickup wont cause your hart to fiburlate
      A serving of cookies for a snack w

      • Are all good for you with the correct Moderation.

        I want to do more things in Moderation, but I only get 5 chances to do so and they expire after 3 days. Then it's back to 3 Whoppers a day for dinner!

        Mod: -1 Flamebroiled

  • Hurry! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Templar (14386) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:19AM (#26482015) Homepage

    Better drink a whole bunch really fast. Next week, researchers will tell us it's bad again.

    • by yttrstein (891553)
      Researchers actually aren't saying much. This is simply another attempt by news media (like Slashdot) to make sense of statistics (which may as well be magic to most people), and twisting them into exciting headlines.

      I've had a bit of experience with the marriage of research and media, and it's pretty terrible. Research needs media in order to excite the public so that they in turn get more funding, but they have to excite the public by acquiescing to weak understanding of causality in the minds of the pe
    • Coffee, it is this year's margarine or butter or black or something.
  • by bughunter (10093) <.ten.knilhtrae. .ta. .retnuhgub.> on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:25AM (#26482093) Journal

    coffee can reduce the risk of alzheimer's

    coffee can protect nerves

    I rtfa but it didn't say how to apply the Coffee Can!

    (I save them you know. You never know when a coffee can will come in handy. But I didn't expect this!)

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Well, if it's aluminum, I have a hard time imagining it would help prevent Alzheimer's if you ate it. Alzheimer's patients have higher levels of aluminum in the brain, so lowering aluminum in the diet is probably wise. Perhaps if it was a steel can, eating it would do something. Most people could do with a little more iron in the blood. What's that you say? Whoooooosh? Dammit!
  • > Middle-aged people who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day ...

    Doesn't that amount fall into the "danger" range for hallucinations? I wonder if there's any relationship between the parts of the brain that would be responsible for hallucinating and the parts that cause Alzheimer's? Also, if coffee can help block damage caused by cholesterol, would meds like Lipitor do the same thing? If it's a matter of antioxidants, wouldn't taking decent amounts of Vitamin C (which has a relatively hig
    • by Locklin (1074657)

      > Middle-aged people who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day ...
        Doesn't that amount fall into the "danger" range for hallucinations? I

      Hallucinations from 3-5 cups a day?? Either you are mistaken, or this is all a hallucination... wait, if this is a hallucination, than you never said that... oh, I am so confused.

  • FTA:

    The reason for this is as yet unknown, although it has been hypothesized that the high levels of antioxidants found in coffee may play a role in preventing dementia and Alzheimer's.

    Yeah, I seem to remember that some forms of Tea is also high in Antioxidants. I'm sure you could switch and not have to suffer the negative side affects from drinking coffee. Maybe that's too simple though....

    • Wwwwwhhhhaaaattt nneeggaattiivvveeee ssssidddeee eefffffeecttsss?

      • by nschubach (922175)

        I know you probably meant that to be like jittering while trying to type on the keyboard, but I imagined someone falling off a tall building, stuck in a deep well, or a cave.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Klaus_1250 (987230)

      .. some forms of Tea is also high in Antioxidants.

      Green Tea and White Tea, but I think the term bio-active components is more in place. Concentrations are dependent on the quality of tea as well and how it is prepared. Same goes for coffee.

  • by haaz (3346) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:37AM (#26482267) Homepage

    I would much rather have hallucinations than worsening memory loss. Hell, having to re-learn five times in a row that my mother has died was bad enough...

  • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:46AM (#26482411)

    However, researchers warn against drinking too much coffee, as 3 cups or more may cause hallucinations.

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    -Loyal

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:50AM (#26482479)

    ...a few months ago, after a particularly heavy coffee session, a video popped up on my PC screen that had some big fat sweaty bald bloke dancing across a big stage shouting "Developers" over and over again... and it was ALL the fault of that Java Sumatran blend...

    Oh wait...

  • It's also been found effective against gout [eurekalert.org].

  • But I wonder why "the age" was listed in this submission? I linked the AFP story from Yahoo news. There are a raft of newspapers to choiose this story from [google.com].

    I guess the submitter was an Australian. But in any case, this study and the newspaper stories about it seem far above the "coffee makes you hallucinate". Hallucination is a sign of schitzophrenia.

    A survey of one (me) backs up the anti-dementia study. I joke about forgetfulness, but I'm actually sharper than I was when I was young and drank less coffee.

  • Green tea (Score:3, Funny)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Friday January 16, 2009 @11:11AM (#26482743) Journal

    If cofee can do it, green tea probably can do it better with fewer side effects.

    Time to sip another cup of green tea...

  • Aids and superaids? They're showing up as the top two tags, so is the implication that coffee prevents aids or causes superaids?
    • The tags really are annoying. They seem to exist only to make knee-jerk statements and stupid jokes. Something dealing in some way with genetics? It will be tagged iamlegend and whatcouldpossiblygowrong within seconds, even if it's not manipulation of DNA but just a study showing a normal state of DNA.

      If there is a typo or math error in the summary or title, that will be tagged 5 times. !Important.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <muitnias>> on Friday January 16, 2009 @11:41AM (#26483149)

    Hard drugs.
    Hard liquor.
    Smoking.
    Jumping off tall buildings.
    Stepping out in front of a bus.

  • Its not just Slashdot that runs alternativing good-bad coffee stories in succession.
    I'm addicted. At least I dont have to make up my mind.
  • by alfredo (18243)

    It didn't help my mother. She knocked back the coffee like a real pro. The operative words are "can reduce." I have a 50 50 chance of coming down with Alzheimer's. I'm doing what I can to protect myself, but I know "can reduce" means little compared to "will prevent."

  • Can't sleep. Clowns will eat me.
  • "3 cups or more may cause hallucinations."

    So, I am hallucinating that I am awake?

  • coffee is good for the brain. coffee causes hallucinations. peyote causes hallucinations. looks like I picked the wrong week to quit taking peyote!

  • Except that I've never had any....from coffee anyway. I have been drinking at least 4 cups per day for the past 40 years and never had any adverse affects, it doesn't even keep me awake. Hell, at my age, I might actually welcome a hallucination or two. ;)
  • by opypod (1169579) on Friday January 16, 2009 @01:06PM (#26484411)
    has it occurred to anyone that it may have nothing to do with chemical interactions at the level they're describing it? there's a fairly well known study with old nuns, where it was shown that active minds are less likely to get alzheimers. could it be that the stimulated brains of coffee drinkers is the real protective effect? if so, perhaps soda-fueled developers will also have lower rates of alzheimers.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday January 16, 2009 @02:07PM (#26485481)
    Just my luck, I get my coffee in bags, not cans.
  • by steveha (103154) on Friday January 16, 2009 @02:11PM (#26485565) Homepage

    I can vouch for the dangers of too much caffeine.

    I accidentally started drinking a lot more caffeine than usual, and after a while, I started having worse and worse tremors. My hands would shake. The day I went to see my doctor about it, I had to concentrate furiously to get my hand steady enough to sign my signature at the front desk.

    We didn't know what was going on. I was certain it wasn't the coffee I was drinking, because coffee had never been a problem for me before. My doctor gave me some tests, and told me he was sure it wasn't anything scary (Parkinson's disease or something). He recommended I start taking magnesium supplements.

    I took the magnesium and it helped right away! Then over time the tremors started to get worse again. I was starting to get scared.

    My doctor sent me to a neurologist. I decided to cut out all coffee for a week or so before visiting the neurologist; I was still certain coffee wasn't the cause of my problems, but I figured it would be helpful to remove one variable from the equation. After being tested in various ways while hooked up to cool machines, I was ruled not to have anything scary. More importantly, after a week with no coffee, I was starting to feel a lot better.

    So I decided to stay off the coffee. I had some bad withdrawal symptoms (headache, etc.) and took a lot of aspirin and ibuprofen. (And around this time I started to get bad tinnitus [wikipedia.org] on top of everything else!)

    Now I am mostly off caffeine. I sometimes have a single cup of caffeinated coffee. The tremors have passed and I'm grateful that my symptoms are gone. (The tinnitus stopped when I stopped taking the aspirin and ibuprofen.)

    An important thing I want to tell you: I never drank a cup of coffee and then immediately had my hands start shaking. I had a gradual onset of hand tremors and it was chronic, with no obvious increase right after I drank coffee. This convinced me the tremors could not be caused by the coffee, but now I am convinced that they were.

    You may be wondering how I could accidentally start overdosing on caffeine. Well, I started working in a building where the coffee was awful (Farmer Brothers commercial coffee service), so I started making my own coffee using an Aeropress [aerobie.com]. This is an excellent coffee maker (Dan likes it! [dansdata.com]), and I still use it and recommend it. But when I first got it, I was using caffeinated coffee, and I was trying to make "doppio ristretto" portions for myself, so I was using two scoops of finely ground espresso beans. I now believe that one AeroPress scoop of coffee makes a double shot, so I was effectively drinking four espresso shots worth of caffeine; and I usually drank two of these per day. So while I thought I was drinking 4 espresso shots worth of caffeine, I suspect I was drinking 8 shots worth, possibly even a little more.

    As the saying goes, the dose makes the poison. I drank reasonable portions of caffeine for years and didn't notice any ill effects at all; it was only when I drank too much that I had the scary tremors.

    If you get hand tremors, I do suggest you cut out all caffeine for a while and see if it helps.

    steveha

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