“Do you like reading news items that are trending? The coffee-MS story is out there at the moment. Interestingly, we covered this story last year when the data was presented at the AAN so it is not a new story. The bottom line is that if you are a coffee drinker you reduce your risks of getting MS by ~30% compared to non-coffee drinkers. Is this an association or causation? Is there something that coffee-drinkers do that non-coffee drinkers don’t that protects them from getting MS (association)? Or, do the genetic factors that increase your risk of getting MS simply increase your affinity for coffee, and your chances of becoming addicted to coffee (association)? Or is there something in coffee that alters the immune system and reduces your risk of getting MS (causation)? If the observation is causal what is it in coffee that reduces your chances of getting MS? Could it be caffeine? If it is caffeine then other caffeinated drinks should also reduce your risks of getting MS; e.g. tea, cola, etc. Apart from being a stimulant we know that caffeine has many biological effects including immunological and neuroprotective effects.”
“Coffee not only reduces your chances of getting MS, but is protective for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease as well. The latter observations alone make it worthwhile taking up the habit. Which is the reason I give for my 6-8 espresso shot per day habit. Did you know that on a global level caffeine is the most prevalent human addiction. The good news is that it seems to have health benefits; coffee, probably caffeinated coffee, may be neuroprotective. Could coffee be another lifestyle factor to take into account when optimising your brain health? I must rush; I need to get my next fix of coffee!”
Hedström et al. High consumption of coffee is associated with decreased multiple sclerosis risk; results from two independent studies. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry doi:10.1136/jnnp-2015-312176
Objective: Previous studies on consumption of caffeine and risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) have yielded inconclusive results. We aimed to investigate whether consumption of coffee is associated with risk of MS.
Methods: Using two population-representative case–control studies (a Swedish study comprising 1620 cases and 2788 controls, and a US study comprising 1159 cases and 1172 controls), participants with different habits of coffee consumption based on retrospective data collection were compared regarding risk of MS, by calculating ORs with 95% CIs. Logistic regression models were adjusted for a broad range of potential confounding factors.
Conclusions: In accordance with studies in animal models of MS, high consumption of coffee may decrease the risk of developing MS. Caffeine, one component of coffee, has neuroprotective properties, and has been shown to suppress the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which may be mechanisms underlying the observed association. However, further investigations are needed to determine whether exposure to caffeine underlies the observed association and, if so, to evaluate its mechanisms of action.