A prolonged preclinical phase of more than two decades before the onset of dementia suggested that initial brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the symptoms of advanced AD may represent a unique continuum. Given the very limited therapeutic value of drugs currently used in the treatment of AD and dementia, preventing or postponing the onset of AD and delaying or slowing its progression are becoming mandatory. Among possible reversible risk factors of dementia and AD, vascular, metabolic, and lifestyle-related factors were associated with the development of dementia and late-life cognitive disorders, opening new avenues for the prevention of these diseases. Among diet-associated factors, coffee is regularly consumed by millions of people around the world and owing to its caffeine content, it is the best known psychoactive stimulant resulting in heightened alertness and arousal and improvement of cognitive performance. Besides its short-term effect, some case-control and cross-sectional and longitudinal population-based studies evaluated the long-term effects on brain function and provided some evidence that coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption or higher plasma caffeine levels may be protective against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia. In particular, several cross-sectional and longitudinal population-based studies suggested a protective effect of coffee, tea, and caffeine use against late-life cognitive impairment/decline, although the association was not found in all cognitive domains investigated and there was a lack of a distinct dose-response association, with a stronger effect among women than men. The findings on the association of coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption or plasma caffeine levels with incident mild cognitive impairment and its progression to dementia were too limited to draw any conclusion. Furthermore, for dementia and AD prevention, some studies with baseline examination in midlife pointed to a lack of association, although other case-control and longitudinal population-based studies with briefer follow-up periods supported favourable effects of coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption against AD. Larger studies with longer follow-up periods should be encouraged, addressing other potential bias and confounding sources, so hopefully opening new ways for diet-related prevention of dementia and AD.
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Panza, F., Solfrizzi, V., Barulli, M.R. et al. Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and prevention of late-life cognitive decline and dementia: A systematic review. J Nutr Health Aging 19, 313–328 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-014-0563-8
- Coffee consumption
- tea consumption
- caffeine use
- mild cognitive impairment
- Alzheimer’s disease
- cognitive disorders