Women ‘more sensitive’
Dr Ritchie said: “”We really need a longer study to look at whether caffeine prevents dementia; it might be that caffeine could slow the dementia process rather than preventing it.””
She said it was not clear why the protective effect did not seem to apply to men.
“”Women may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Their bodies may react differently to the stimulant, or they may metabolize caffeine differently.””
Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said that with no cure for Alzheimer’s disease yet available, research into possible protective factors was important, particularly as the disease is expected to become more common.
She said: “”This study does not suggest that caffeine actually lowers rates of dementia in women, but since memory seems improved, it may be that it is slowing it down.
“”However, research over a much longer period is still needed to establish fully what the affects of caffeine are in both men and women and whether it could reduce a person’s risk of dementia or slow down its progress.””
Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said drinking coffee and tea had both been tipped as possible ways of delaying the onset of dementia.
However, she said: “”These types of studies are complex because coffee and tea drinking can be linked to so many other social and life style factors.””
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