This month’s science update focuses on new findings on Alzheimer’s disease risk:
Why Women Should Worry About Their Brains First: Important New Statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association
What: Recent findings from the Alzheimer’s Association show that women run an estimated 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetime, a significantly increased risk compared to men (who run an 1 in 11 chance). The numbers, released as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “2014 Facts and Figures” show that women 60 and over are twice more likely to develop dementia than breast cancer, and that women also bear the brunt of the collateral costs of the disease, through caregiving and its associated economic and health-related tolls.
Why This Matters: While being female has always been a top risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s Disease, the real significance of the impact the disease has uniquely for woman is rarely considered.
The Takeaway: These findings underscore the reasons why women should start now to take good care of their brains. Following a better brain fitness plan such as our Total Brain Health® blueprint can help reduce risk for the disease. In addition, as the primary health advocates within their families, women can set good role models for brain healthy living for their spouses, children, relatives and friends.
More Coffee or Tea? Caffeine May Protect Your Brain from Dementia
What: A recent review article in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging showed the potential long-term benefit of caffeine use in lowering dementia risk. Researchers reviewed the existing data to consider the possible benefits of caffeine for reducing dementia risk, as well as the potential mechanisms by which caffeine may work to lower that risk. They found a strong association between regular use of coffee, tea, or other caffeine-containing foods and reduced dementia risk.
Why This Matters: Caffeine has been associated with improved everyday cognitive performance. However, its effect on long-term dementia risk remains unclear, as does the means by which it might reduce that risk. Since coffee, tea and other caffeinated products are popular in diets around the globe, more knowledge about potential positive benefits of caffeine vis-à-vis dementia risk would be an important to know. In addition the researchers question whether there may be differential effects based on one’s genetics or metabolism or caffeine, such that there might be a way to determine an optimal “dose” of caffeine for dementia risk reduction.
The Takeaway: It appears that caffeine, most specifically coffee, may have long-term benefits for our brains. While the current studies looking at these long-term effects are small, this review offers compelling reasons for further research. It also gives us a great excuse to have that extra cup!