COFFEE FIGHTS ALZHEIMER’S

Mark Reynolds writing in the Daily Express has reported that research suggests coffee can significantly cut the risk of suffering dementia.

Three to five cups a day could reduce the chances of developing the disease by up to a fifth, a study has found.

The caffeine in coffee helps prevent the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain – two hallmarks of the debilitating memory loss condition.

In addition, both caffeine and polyphenols, compounds which are also found in the drink in large quantities, decreases the deterioration of cells in areas of the brain involved in memory, the scientists reported.

Dr Iva Holmerova, of Alzheimer Europe, said: “The findings are very encouraging. Coffee is a very popular beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the world and I’m pleased to know that moderate, lifelong consumption can have a beneficial effect on the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The report released today, highlights the role that nutrition in general can play in preserving cognitive function, especially before symptoms of dementia occur. A Mediterranean diet has always been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, it says.

But the report, released by the Institute of Scientific Information on Coffee, notes that the latest research suggests caffeine and polyphenols can have the same protective effect.

Dr Arfan Ikram. an assistant professor at the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, who contributed to the report’s findings, said: “The majority of human studies suggest that regular coffee consumption over a lifetime is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, with an optimum protective effect occurring with three to five cups per day.”

Lifestyle

Details from the report were originally presented at the Alzheimer Europe annual conference in Glasgow last month.

Delegates heard that research had established that moderate coffee consumption over a four-year test period cut the risk of dementia by up to 20 percent. however the effect diminished over a longer follow-up period.

Dr Holmerova said: “Cognitive decline is a feature of ageing, and although some changes can be expected in all of us, there is some evidence that diet and lifestyle may be related to cognition.

“Studies suggest that certain lifestyle factors and nutritional elements, including the consumption of coffee and caffeine may help to slow down age-related cognitive decline seen in the older generation.”

However, Jess Smith, research officer at the care and research charity Alzheimer’s Society, sounded a note of caution. She said that evidence that drinking coffee can help protect against Alzheimer’s is still not conclusive.

She added: “Some research suggest that caffeine and anti-oxidents in coffee may be beneficial but more research and clinical trials are needed.

“There is no single way to reduce your risk of dementia. Exercising frequently, as well as eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding smoking, not drinking to excess and managing other health conditions can play a role in reducing your risk of dementia.”

In Britain, 850.000 people are affected by dementia, 60 per cent of whom have Alzheimer’s disease. Treating dementia costs the nation an estimated £26.3billion a year.

“No need to stick to the decaf now then”. Joking aside, any advice on lifestyle, especially if it reaches younger people who have more time to put it into practice, is welcome. Seeing what this illness can do to a loved one is utterly heartbreaking. It isn’t just going fuddy duddy and forgetting things. It can produce ongoing extreme anxiety, terror and appalling physical decline where body functions disintegrate. My mother was a healthy  86 year old. She developed shingles over her eye and head and after getting her through that, the memory and seeing things started (dementia isn’t just Alzheimer’s).  To be brief, the next four years were a worsening horror. I cried with relief, as much as anything,  the day, while sitting with her, a coronary thrombosis took her – I’d lost my “mum”,  but it was a godsend.
You may visit someone in a nursing home with very poorly residents and notice their lack of visitors. One reason is that their relatives  may love them to bits, but many just cannot handle it.

2m Heading for Poverty – Half Children

Government policies will push almost 2 million more people into poverty by 2020 and half will be children, experts have warned.

The Independent Institute for Fiscal studies says the rise of 900,000 children on the breadline will be caused by tax and benefit changes.

It ” does not seem possible under current policy” to hit the child poverty targets.

Incomes which have fallen 5% since 2008, will recover this year, it says.

Legal & General says an average worker losing a job can last just two weeks before needing benefits.

Child poverty facts and figures:

From the Child Poverty Action Group –

  • There are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK today. That’s 27 per cent of children, or more than one in four.
  • There are even more serious concentrations of child poverty at a local level: in 100 local wards, for example, between 50 and 70 per cent of children are growing up in poverty.
  • Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one member works.
  • People are poor for many reasons. But explanations which put poverty down to drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, poor parenting, or a culture of worklessness are not supported by the facts.
  • Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 61 per cent of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.
  • Child poverty has long-lasting effects. By 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE than their wealthier peers. Leaving school with fewer qualifications translates into lower earnings over the course of a working life.
  • Poverty is also related to more complicated health histories over the course of a lifetime, again influencing earnings as well as the overall quality – and indeed length – of life. Professionals live, on average, eight years longer than unskilled workers.
  • Child poverty imposes costs on broader society – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year. Governments forgo prospective revenues as well as commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now.
  • Child poverty reduced dramatically between 1998/9-2011/12 when 1.1 million children were lifted out of poverty (BHC). This reduction is credited in large part to measures that increased the levels of lone parents working, as well as real and often significant increases in the level of benefits paid to families with children.
  • Under current government policies, child poverty is projected to rise from 2012/13 with an expected 600,000 more children living in poverty by 2015/16. This upward trend is expected to continue with 4.7 million children projected to be living in poverty by 2020.