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Coffee may lower risk of Alzheimer's - Oh give me a break!!!

Every new year produces its own series of absurd and inane statements and conclusions on how one can avoid Alzheimer’s and other dementia producing diseases. This year’s first prize winner will probably be the report from the New York Times dated 27 January 2009. Apparently coffee is now a wonder drug in preventing Alzheimer’s. This conclusion will be well received among the millions of coffee lovers.

We are now asked to believe the findings of a group of Swedish and Danish scientists who studied a group of 1,409 men and women of which 61 were said to be diagnosed with dementia. They concluded that the coffee drinkers in the group who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day had 65% less likelihood of dementia than those who drank less than three cups a day. The 20 year study was said to have been done with a group of middle aged subjects.

The use of the term dementia in this study adds further confusion to the use of this term by both the medical profession and the general public. Dementia is not a disease but rather it is a group of symptoms that are caused by some overlying disease such as Alzheimer’s. Diseases such as Lewy Body disease and Huntington’s disease are examples of other diseases that cause dementia symptoms. Alzheimer’s produces about 80% of all cases of dementia symptoms. With such sloppy use of medical terms one can not help but wonder about the overall professional caliber of this group of scientists. Middle age has a very low prevalence of Alzheimer’s in any event. Because of the age factor, the study appears to be seriously flawed when attempting to apply their so called findings to Alzheimer’s. Most would not have been in the critical age for this disease.

This is just another conclusion and statement spawned by the congress of incompetents who love to advise one how to avoid Alzheimer’s by life style and or nutrition changes. Such foolishness is counter productive. Our scientists and others should spend their time and energy finding a cure for this terrible disease rather than give false hope that one can avoid it simply by leading a different life style or one with different nutrition habits.

A Case in Point: My wife June is a good case study. She did everything right as to the current wisdom and recommendations for avoiding Alzheimer’s.

June was a typical Scandinavian (full blooded Norwegian) who loved her coffee. The coffee pot was always on. People of Norwegian descent frequently joke about coffee being “Norwegian gasoline.” I drink coffee but more or less as a social device. In other words I drink it when it is served but normally would not order it in a restaurant. I do not like it straight and will drink it only if cream is available to soften the taste. June used to jokingly tell me that I really did not like coffee if I had to dilute it with cream. (She was right....)

(Photo below right was taken of June in May 1994 before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's)   June 1994 


On Monday January 26th, 1998 (Black Monday) June was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For almost eleven (11) weary years, June struggled with this disease as she traveled ever more deeply into the dark shadows of Alzheimer’s. Finally on October 23rd, 2007, June gave up her exhausting battle and departed this earth for her heavenly home. In the end, the result was that June left me, the NON coffee lover/drinker to travel the road alone. Her coffee pot sets in the kitchen unused.

The real risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age. At age 65 and older approximately one person in eight will have Alzheimer’s. When the age factor is 85 or older, approximately 50% will have Alzheimer’s. When the scientific community discovers the so called “Fountain of Youth”, they will have almost solved the puzzle of preventing Alzheimer’s. So for the time being, let’s organize our efforts around finding a cure and not waste our time on wishful thinking.


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