With the American population aging rapidly, diseases that affect the health of the elderly are becoming increasingly important. The prevalence of these conditions is increasing and is costing both insurers and taxpayers billions of dollars each year. One of the most widely-known such conditions is Alzheimer's disease, which is a condition that affects the neurological health of the afflicted patient. Several studies have been done recently to determine whether there is a valid link between drinking coffee and reduction in the risk of this disease.
In mid-2002, a hospital clinic in Portugal investigated to see if there was a link between drinking coffee and the reduction of the risk of developing this disease. In particular, the researchers sought to determine if the caffeine in coffee could protect against the degeneration of the brain that is associated with the disease in the period before diagnosis. They studied fifty-four patients with this disease.
All of the patients met the Alzheimer's disease and Related Disorders criteria. The researchers found that the caffeine in coffee was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing this disease, even when other issues were taken into account.
A university clinic located in Berlin, Germany, looked at the relationship between consumption of coffee and the delay in the onset of this disease or reduction in the rate of progression of the disease. While they were unable to definitively state that the caffeine in coffee was beneficial to these patients, they did see the possibility of the link between coffee and overall neurological health.
Finally, a University in Ottawa Canada analyzed the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease as part of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. They studied more than six thousand patients aged 65 years or older between 1991 and 1996.
The researchers found that consumption of coffee was associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. They concluded that the evidence from this study warranted further research and review on this relationship between coffee and this disease.
While these studies have not been able to definitively state that drinking coffee reduces the risk, there is enough evidence to warrant further research. In particular, the studies have shown that caffeine intake as when drinking coffee is at the very least related to neurological function such as the function that is lost with the onset of this disease.
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