BARI, Italy, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A survey of some 1,400 aging Italians suggests a coffee habit may be good for brain health.
While the new study doesn't purport to prove causation, the findings support previous research pointing to the neurological benefits of the caffeinated beverage.
When researchers at University of Bari Aldo Moro, in Italy, charted the coffee consumption and neurological health of 1,445 Italians aged 65 to 84 over the course of three years, they found those who drank an average of two cups of joe per day were less likely to have developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than coffee abstainers.
Oddly, those who upped their coffee intake over time increased their risk of the onset of mild dementia. The findings suggest moderation is key.
"Older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI," researchers wrote in their new paper, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Researchers believe compounds in coffee help protect neurons from the plaques linked with Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.
This isn't the first study to suggest moderate coffee drinkers may be doing their body and brain a favor.
On top of animal research -- which showed the dark brew to boost rodent memory -- a number of meta-analysis studies show coffee to protect drinkers from health problems like stroke and high blood pressure, as well as some forms of cancer and neurological diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.