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Coffee is certainly one of science's most investigated beverages.

Recently, I found the Lifehacker website stating:

According to further research, regular coffee drinkers may have less of a risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life – by as much as 60%!

However, for another claim on the same page, it cites the "British Coffee Association". I do not accept that as a credible source. For that specific claim, above, we only get "According to further research" without any source.

Is there any scientific evidence supporting that claim?

3

Yes, there is a strong association between drinking coffee and reduced Alzheimer's risk.

A quantitative review of the data was published in 2007 that looked at the pooled data from four studies, published between 1990 and 2002.

There was an obvious protective effect of coffee consumption in the pooled estimate [risk estimate: 0.73 (95% confidence interval: 0.58-0.92)]. However, the homogeneity test was highly significant (p<0.01), indicating heterogeneity across the pooled studies.

[...]

Although our pooled estimates show that coffee consumption is inversely associated with the risk of AD, the four studies had heterogeneous methodologies and results. Further prospective studies evaluating the association between coffee consumption and AD are strongly needed.

So, while they didn't find a risk reduction from the pooled data as high as 60%, as quoted by Lifehacker, they showed that the individual studies had found quite different figures.

So, it is quite reasonable to believe that Lifehacker had found (or at least had heard of) a study that showed a 60% risk reduction.

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    I think it is worth qualifying or clarifying "strong association". Observational studies that find mildly altered risk of low incidence diseases are rarely replicated in randomized controlled studies, which are considered the gold standard of evidence in medicine. A strong statistical association in these observational studies is weak evidence of causality. – MattBagg Nov 12 '12 at 16:35
  • @mb3041023: Yes. I used the term "association" advisedly. The quote from the paper's abstract used the term "protective effect" which caused me to raise an eyebrow. – Oddthinking Nov 12 '12 at 21:30

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