A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, has illustrated the protective effects of coffee against Multiple Sclerosis, (MS). Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata, is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. MS takes several forms, with new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may disappear completely; however, permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances.
The research participants consisted of 1,629 people with MS compared to 2,807 healthy people from a Swedish study and participants in a U.S. study representing 1,159 people with MS and 1,172 healthy people. The study investigated coffee consumption among people with MS one- five years before MS symptoms began in the U.S. study as well as 10 years prior to the development of MS symptoms in the Swedish study.
“Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and our study shows that coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea that the drug may have protective effects for the brain,” said study author Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
The research findings revealed quite clearly that people who did not consume coffee had a one and a half time increased risk of developing MS, compared to coffee drinkers. Coffee consumption of 4-6 cups a day revealed a preventative effect in both the Swedish and the U.S. study.