Alcohol, coffee linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s

Alcohol and coffee linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s – BT – 24 August 2015

Statins, anti-inflammatory drugs, alcoholic drinks and coffee have all been linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, scientists have said

But diabetes, depression and high blood pressure can increase it in certain groups, according to a major review of more than 300 studies, which was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Below are all the strange and unexpected substances, conditions, and histories that decrease the risk of getting Alzheimer’s:  

  1. having cancer,
  2. having heart disease,
  3. arthritis or
  4. metabolic syndrome
  5. taking statins,
  6. taking drugs to lower high blood pressure
  7. high intake of folic acid reduced the risk by roughly 49%,
  8. while oestrogen reduced risk by around 40%, and
  9. taking NSAIDs reduced risk by about 26%.
  10. history of cancer is associated with a 37% decreased in risk
  11. coffee
  12. vitamins C and E
  13. current smoking (only amongst Western populations),
  14. light-to-moderate drinking (one to three alcoholic drinks a day),
  15. Stress
  16. high body mass index (BMI) in late life.

High alcohol consumption or alcoholism showed no significant association.

The study, led by Qingdao University in China, said a history of cancer is associated with a 37% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, possibly due to the contradictive pathophysiological process of the two conditions – degeneration vs replication.

They said it was an observational study, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect

Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said some of the findings contradict other evidence and should be approached cautiously.

Studies like this one, which review large amounts of existing evidence, can be useful in determining which factors have the strongest link to Alzheimer’s, but they don’t give us a clear idea about cause and effect.  

Reference: Meta-analysis of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease — Xu et al. — Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry

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