IT Pro Nightmare: Coffee Intake Linked To Alzheimer's - InformationWeek
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IT Pro Nightmare: Coffee Intake Linked To Alzheimer's

Increasing your coffee habits later in life can be very dangerous, according to a recent study. No need to panic, we have some options for you.

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10 iPhone, Android Apps To Keep You Healthy
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Your servers might run on electricity, but we all know your data center really runs on coffee. Coffee by the venti cup. Coffee by the gallon. Coffee by the giant cardboard box.

Well, I've got bad news for you java-guzzling IT folk. A study done in Italy has shown a link between coffee drinking and Alzheimer's disease.

I'll let that sink in for a minute:

Better? Need more time?

OK, before you go too crazy, the problem lies in increasing the coffee use as you age. Of course, who among us doesn't drink more coffee as we age? Especially since the news about coffee was so good for a while, with studies showing positive health benefits?

[ A few months ago, we learned coffee helps you live longer. Read IT Pros: Live Long and Eat Your Coffee Cup. ]

The study followed 1,445 Italians aged 65 - 84. Those who consistently drank one or two cups of coffee per day throughout their lives had a normal, or perhaps even lowered, risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the beginnings of Alzheimer's. Those who had started drinking coffee late in life, and those who increased their coffee intake as they aged, faced 1.5 to 2 times more risk of MCI.

So, a moderate amount of coffee is still good, but let's face it, most of us don't consume a moderate amount of coffee. That Starbuck's you get every day is usually more than one cup of coffee by the standard definition. A cup of coffee is 6 fluid oz. Even a Starbuck's short (and who orders the short?) is 8 oz. So the tall is two cups. And a lot of us don't stop there.

Let's face it, most of us have a caffeine addiction. And to get the continued "hit" for our addiction, we increase our intake to keep making up for it. Don't believe me when I say you're addicted? We've all been right here:

So what are we supposed to do about it? Go cold turkey? Nope. You can still have your cup or two. Maybe avoid the venti. If you want to keep measuring your coffee intake by the cup, and not by the IV bag, Livestrong has some interesting suggestions. Swap the extra coffee for a steak.

OK, not really, but you create energy and focus with B vitamins and protein. You can get those from lean meat, eggs, nuts, and whole grains. It sounds dull, but a breakfast with whole-grain toast and eggs might help you keep the coffee intake to a cup or two. Remember when we all ate that for breakfast? At least in the movies.

Also, a lot of high-volume coffee drinkers get dehydrated from all that caffeine. Swapping one of your cups of joe for a big glass of water doesn't sound fun, but might help.

I know, I'm offering water and eggs as a replacement for your triple venti soy no-foam latte, or your venti iced skinny hazelnut macchiato, extra shot, light ice, no whip. There really is no substitute. At least I didn't insult you by talking about herbs. And hey, we're talking about your brain's health. Like everything else, we're finding a little bit is OK and a lot is bad. Whatever you can do to get there, I suggest you do it before you forget how you like your coffee.

(Image: Britta Gustafson via Flickr)

(Image: Britta Gustafson via Flickr)

What do you think? How much coffee do you drink? Do you find it is increasing? Does this kind of information concern you? Let's meet over coffee and talk about it in the comments section below.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
8/6/2015 | 12:39:53 PM
Re: Reason for the coffee probably far worse!
Wow!  72 hours without sleep is a really long time and I'm guessing you escaped death by a hair.  

I will do almond milk or coconut milk, but don't like the taste in my coffee...cest la vie!
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
8/5/2015 | 8:24:18 PM
Re: Reason for the coffee probably far worse!
Hehe, that's a good one. I did once think I'd killed myself with caffine when I was in my early 20s. I was working on a deadline and stayed up almost 72 hours with a lot of caffine. Actually, I probably DID almost kill myself. :(

re: milk - My little guy and wife are pretty alergic to dairy, and soy isn't really good for you (at least to have real often). Have you tried almond milk or coconut milk? We usually just make our own almond milk at home using some almond butter, dates, and water in the blender (the stuff from the store has a bunch of other junk in it).
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
8/5/2015 | 8:18:46 PM
Re: Reason for the coffee probably far worse!
I don't drink coffee anymore because I like it with milk and milk hurts my stomach.  So does soy milk.  So...I switched to espresso.  But I like the "sipping" that goes along with drinking coffee as much as the coffee itself.  So I usually order a double.  Or triple.

One day, I ordered a quadruple :) and the barista said, "Do you want to order something with that?  Some food maybe?"  Me: laughing, "No thanks."  Him: "Or how about an ER doctor?"   ROFL
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2015 | 5:13:50 AM
Reason for the coffee probably far worse!
I'm guessing that the lack of sleep, most likely being the cause of over-consumption of coffee probably does far more damage than the coffee ever will.

Plus, if you're drinking that much coffee, and not consuming (body weight in lbs / 2 = oz) enough good water + whatever oz you drank in coffee (to compesenate for the diuretic effect), you're doing a lot of damage there too.

And, then if you've got the typical S.A.D. (diet) going, Alzheimer's is probably the least of your worries! Obesity, cancer, diabetes, etc. are going to get you way earier.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2015 | 5:07:18 AM
Re: Stupid assumptions
@SunitaT0, I think the key to most of the healthy diets is that they get rid of all the processed junk. If you're eating a vegan diet, you're going to be making a lot more of your own food and eating fresh veggies, etc. Same for Paleo, etc. And, each person's body is different... but the big ones are sleep, quantity and quality of water, good food source, and some expercise (not a lot is needed).
MattDN
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MattDN,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/3/2015 | 9:28:33 PM
Sleep Problems
I read recently that there's a link between poor sleep quality and Alzheimer's disease.  Perhaps increasing coffee consumption later in life is an attempt to compensate for poor sleep quality?  There are probably different types of sleep disorders, but in the case of untreated sleep apnea, especially if severe, there are many episodes during the night where blood oxygen drops.  The risk of developing sleep apnea increases with age.  I'm not a medical researcher, but it seems plausible to me that the underlying issue here is a relationship between sleep apnea and Alzheimer's.  That would make the link between coffee and Alzheimer's a correlation, not a cause.  (Disclaimer:  I have not read the study.  Maybe the authors addressed this and/or attempted to correct for this effect?  Also, I drink coffee so I'm "highly biased".)

 
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2015 | 6:39:30 PM
Re: Stupid assumptions
I enjoyed youe article and videos. I tend tot hink most things, including coffee, are okay when taken in moderation. Let's hope I am right. I type this as I sip my coffee!
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2015 | 4:00:50 PM
Re: Stupid assumptions
I'm with you Sunitato!
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2015 | 3:58:59 PM
Re: Stupid assumptions
Very good point. Link is definitely different than cause.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2015 | 2:18:40 PM
Re: Stupid assumptions
I would say more than enough of anything would get you health problems. Be it coffee or anything else.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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