Washington D.C.: Coffee lovers! A new study has revealed that necking six cups of java every day could potentially cut the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, has neuroprotective properties and can suppress the production of chemicals involved in the inflammatory response, which may explain the association found, suggest the researchers.
While it remains to be seen whether coffee drinking could ward off the development of MS, cautions a linked editorial, the findings add to the growing body of evidence indicating that coffee may be good for our health, it suggests.
The researchers base their findings on two representative population studies - one in Sweden comprising 1620 adults with MS and a comparison group of 2788, matched for age and sex and a US study comprising 1159 people with MS and 1172 healthy people.
The results showed that the risk of MS was consistently higher among those drinking fewer cups of coffee every day in both studies, even after taking account of potentially important influential factors, such as smoking, and weight during the teenage years.
This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which changes in coffee consumption between an MS diagnosis and data collection could have influenced the results, while inaccurate recall of coffee consumption can't be ruled out, say the researchers.
In turn, this could potentially contribute to a better understanding of MS aetiology and the development of novel MS therapies, they concluded.
The study appears online in Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry....