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Cognitive Decline – Coffee, Alcohol

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A new study in Australia has uncovered evidence to suggest that there is a link between the amount of coffee people drink and their rate of cognitive decline.

Coffee and alcohol. Two of my favorite drinks. My challenge is that I love both of these drinks. I just turned 62 and I worry about my brain health as time marches on…

I think about my own cognitive decline because I’ve been working to improve my chemo brain since I underwent conventional cancer therapies in the late nineties.

I can’t help but wonder if my chemo brain pre-disposed me to premature cognitive decline?


I worry about my brain health because I developed chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction aka chemo-brain after I  underwent a lot of toxic chemotherapy years ago. Cancer survivors struggling with chemo-brain understand the symptoms all-too-well-

  • difficulty remembering words- (difficulty forming sentences sometimes…)
  • executive function-
  • multi-tasking-
  • facial recognition-

I have slowly improved my brain health and therefore my chemo-brain symptoms but I want to be careful. I work on improving my brain health daily.

Which brings me back to the two studies linked and excerpted below. More than 4 glasses of beer/wine a week increases my risk of AD. At the same time (actually, first thing in the morning:-)) I have 2-3 cups of black coffee.

My wine routine is 3 glasses of wine weekly. My routine is a a glass of wine with dinner every other night. My coffee is every morning. While it isn’t exactly scientific, I measure my brain health though my BrainHQ (brain games) tracking of my “activities quotient or BrainAQ.”

This may be me but the method I use for not drinking more than 3 glasses of wine weekly is simply to make it a routine. No more than one glass every other night. No, none, nada. This may sound childish on my part but I find that I have to have a regimen in order to stick to my limits. It is just too easy to have another glass of wine…

Have you undergone chemo and or radiation? Is there Alzheimer’s Disease in your family? Do you have chemo-brain? While I am the first one to admit that my therapies are seemingly unimpressive, I have to say they work.

I have a long ways to go so we will see how my brain health does in the coming years.

Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and tell my about your brain health. I will reply to you ASAP.


David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

  • There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, although treatment and lifestyle changes can slow its progression.
  • A new Australian study suggests that higher coffee intake might be linked to a slower rate of cognitive decline.
  • There was also an association between higher coffee intake and slower accumulation of amyloid deposits in the brain.

More than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which experts believe accounts for 50–75% of dementia cases. In an aging population, AD cases are expected to increaseTrusted Source

A new study in Australia has uncovered evidence to suggest that there is a link between the amount of coffee people drink and their rate of cognitive decline. The study recently appeared in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Dr. Samantha Gardener, the lead author of the paper, says that if additional research confirms this link, “coffee intake could one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of [AD].”

She continues: “It’s a simple thing that people can change […]. It could be particularly useful for people who are at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms…”

They (study participants) then performed cognitive assessments using a selection of psychological measures at baseline and 18-month intervals. These assessments measured six cognitive areas: episodic recall memory, recognition memory, executive function, language, attention and processing speed, and the AIBL Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC)…

A subset of 60 participants underwent PET brain scans to assess the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain. A further subset of 51 participants had MRI scans to assess their brain volume atrophy

Analysis of the data showed that habitual coffee drinking was positively associated with the cognitive areas of executive function, attention, and the PACC score. Drinking higher amounts of coffee was associated with slower cognitive decline in these areas over the course of the study.

Higher baseline coffee consumption was also linked to a slower accumulation of amyloid protein over the 126 months.

There did not seem to be a link between coffee intake and brain volume atrophy in this study.

The observed results suggest that increasing coffee intake from 1 to 2 cups per day could potentially reduce cognitive decline by up to 8% after 18 months. There could also be up to a 5% decrease in cerebral beta-amyloid accumulation over the same period.

Dr. Gardener told MNT, “[h]igher coffee intake was associated with slower accumulation of the sticky protein called beta-amyloid, which clumps together in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease…”

Risky drinking and cognitive impairment in community residents aged 50 and over

“Alcohol misuse is known to be a risk factor for dementia. This study aimed to explore the association between risky drinking and cognitive impairment in a cohort study of middle aged and older people at risk of dementia.

Results: Risky drinkers at baseline were more likely to be younger, male, white British, married, of higher educational status, current or past tobacco smokers and to have moderate to severe depression than non-risky drinkers. Risky drinkers were also more likely to be impaired on self-reported instrumental activities of daily living and subjective cognitive decline. At baseline, risky drinkers were less likely than non-risky drinkers to show impairment on verbal reasoning and spatial working memory but not on visual episodic memory or verbal working memory. Risky drinking at baseline predicted decline in cognitive function on visual episodic memory, verbal reasoning and spatial working memory at 2 year follow-up, but only verbal working memory and spatial working memory remained significant outcomes after controlling for possible confounders.

Conclusion: Although of small effect size, the association between risky drinking and impairment on measures of working memory and visuospatial function warrants further examination; particularly given the possibility of partial reversibility in alcohol related cognitive impairment.”

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