Roundup: How Much is Too Much Coffee? Dementia Prevention Guidelines; and Low-dose Aspirin Risk

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May 17, 2019


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More Than 5 Cups of Coffee a Day May Be Too Much, Researcher Say

Previous studies have found that drinking coffee is healthy, with one concluding that even consuming four or more cups daily could reduce your risk of death.

But a new study finds that drinking six or more cups a day increases the risk of developing heart disease by 22 percent.

Investigating the link between long-term coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease, University of South Australia researchers say they found the point at which excess caffeine can cause high blood pressure, a precursor to heart disease. They say this is the first time “an upper limit has been placed on safe coffee consumption and cardiovascular health.”

Using a database of 347,077 participants aged 37-73 years, the study looked at the ability of the caffeine-metabolizing gene (CYP1A2) to better process caffeine. After the fifth cup of coffee, increased risks of cardiovascular disease were found, even after considering genetic variations.

“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day – based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” says Professor Elina Hyppönen, of the Australian Centre for Precision Health, and a co-author of the study.

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Healthy Lifestyle Choices Can Reduce Your Risk of Dementia, Says WHO Guidelines

People can take steps to help reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet — while maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) this week.

The WHO says the guidelines are meant to guide healthcare providers when advising their patients on how to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. The organization also said government policy-makers can use them to develop programs to encourage healthy lifestyles.

A report released in March by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics says the rate of Americans who died from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, has more than doubled from 30.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2000 to 66.7 in 2017.

“In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple,” said WHO director-deneral Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”

Dementia encompasses conditions that impair memory and result in a decline in cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common of these conditions, is the 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years or older in the U.S.

The WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory, launched in December 2017, is a database resource of what member nations are doting to combat dementia, such as awareness campaigns and facilities for care. Data from 21 countries have already been included. A total of 80 countries are currently providing data.

The organization says dementia is “a rapidly growing public health problem affecting around 50 million people globally.” There are nearly 10 million new cases worldwide every year, the WHO Says.

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Low-dose Aspirin Linked to Higher Risk of Bleeding in Skull, Study Finds

A new review of previous studies indicates that your risk of a brain bleed outweighs any heart benefit from a daily aspirin — especially if you have no history of cardiovascular or stroke health issues.

Researchers reviewed data from 13 earlier studies involving more than 130,000 people, ages 42 to 74. The group of subjects did not have a history of heart disease or stroke, but they received either aspirin or a placebo to prevent the conditions. The study’s authors concluded that the risk of a head bleed was higher for those who took low-dose aspirin.

People who took the placebo had a 0.46 percent risk of head bleeds, but the risk was 0.63 percent for those who took the aspirin. An aspirin is typically defined as low-dose if its between 75 and 100 milligrams. Most over-the-counter pills are about 81 milligrams.

People from Asian backgrounds and those with a body mass index (BMI) under 25 had the highest risk of “intracranial hemorrhage.”

The study was published this week in the journal JAMA Neurology. 

Taking a low-dose aspirin every day had formerly been recommended for older adults because of aspirin’s known ability to prevent platelets from forming a clot.

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