Caffeine May Boost Brain Health in Women


One more reason to enjoy your morning cup of joe: A new study shows it may reduce women’s risk of dementia. (Photo: Getty Images)

Good news, ladies — more research has discovered yet another perk of drinking coffee.

A recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology concluded that caffeine consumption of more than 261 milligrams per day — about two or three 8-ounce cups of coffee or five or six 8-ounce cups of black tea —was linked to a 36 percent reduction risk of dementia among older women.

Investigators collected data from 6,467 postmenopausal women who were at least 65 years of age and who reported various amounts of regular caffeine intake. After annual assessments of cognitive function over the following 10 years, 388 of the women were diagnosed with either probable dementia or with some form of cognitive impairment.

However, the women who consumed more than the average amount of caffeine on a daily basis (the average being 261 milligrams per day) were diagnosed at a lower rate compared with the females who ingested an average of 64 milligrams of caffeine every 24 hours.

“We were not really surprised by our findings since the epidemiological evidence has been mounting in the same direction as our findings,” Ira Driscoll, Ph.D., lead study author and a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, tells Yahoo Beauty.

In fact, previous research concluded that coffee consumption has been linked to various health benefits, such as reduced risk factors for developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as lowering the risk of mortality from both of these conditions, along with neurological diseases and suicide.

“I think the findings are intriguing and certainly in line with past literature on the positive effects of caffeine on longevity,” Michael A. Yassa, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of neurobiology and behavior and director of the Yassa Translational Neurobiology Lab at the University of California, Irvine, tells Yahoo Beauty.

In 2014, Yassa and his then colleagues from Johns Hopkins University also studied the brain and caffeine connection and found that this stimulant has the ability to enhance certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed.

While not all science is in favor of caffeine consumption, Driscoll adds that negative reports often involve smaller samples of the population “and may be underpowered or have other methodological limitations,” she says. “This is exactly why large studies, such as ours, are much needed.”

Driscoll’s hope is that future research will focus on “the potential biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between caffeine and cognitive impairment.”

Adds Yassa: “It would be good to understand whether the relationship is causative.” For now, keep enjoying that cup of joe.

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