Alzheimer’s disease, caffeine, and sloppy blogging

I stumbled upon this post on a blog here on WP today, where the author is giving advice on what to do to lower your chances of getting Alzheimer’s dementia.It is confusingly titled “Top Five Things You Can Do Today to Combat Alzheimer’s”, although the post is about how to avoid getting it, but let’s leave that aside.
The post rubbed me the wrong way for a variety of reasons.Here’s the first one:

Over five million people have Alzheimer’s disease and it affects over 10 million women as the primary caregivers, advocates and caregivers.

What the fuck.Alzheimer’s dementia affects more women than men(mainly because women live longer), so there are at least as many male caregivers and “advocates” out there as there are female ones.The figure of 5 million, by the way, is the one for the USA, not worldwide.Where the author gets the 10 million female caregivers from, I have no idea, and we aren’t told.

Then the author goes through 5 points that she alleges “combat” Alzheimers:

Researchers found that people who regularly consumed a Mediterranean diet were 38 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.A Mediterranean diet is rich in nuts, healthy fats (from salad dressings, avocados), tomatoes, fish, cruciferous vegetables, dark and leafy vegetables and fruits

What researchers, where? We are not told.This is sloppy, I’m sorry, am I supposed to just believe this? And what are those “healthy fats from salad dressings”, pray tell? Can I get them in Australia, or do I have to travel to Crete for that?

A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that smoking is directly linked to dramatic increase in dementia in later years.

Again, what study, where? Can we look at it and judge it on its merits for ourselves?

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at the effects of luteolin on the brains of mice, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Luteolin, which is found in celery and green pepper, was found to reduce brain inflammation caused by Alzheimer’s and can ease symptoms of memory loss.

In mice? Or humans? What brain inflammation is caused by Alzheimers? What are you even talking about? This is embarrassing.
Here’s the worst bit:

Drink coffee

The European Journal of Neurology found that those with an increased caffeine intake had a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who with little or no intake of caffeine. Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease and 50 percent reduction in levels of beta amyloid, a substance forming sticky clumps of plaques in the brain of those with Alzheimer’s. This means that not only have these studies found that caffeine can be a critical in preventing Alzheimer’s, but it can actually be a therapeutic treatment for those already diagnosed with the disease. This is a huge development! This is also a great excuse to continue your daily latte habit.

I had a look at that study.54 individuals in each group, Alzheimers sufferers and controls, paired by age.Not enough numbers to arrive at any proper conclusions in the first place.They had those participants estimate their caffeine intake for 20 years backwards.Try and do that for yourself(like, how much tea, coffee, Coke etc have you consumed daily for the last 20 years).The results of that study are quite astonishing, actually, the controls consumed on average 2/3 more caffeine than the Alzheimer patients.Statistically, this is highly improbable.But then again, you know, they have Alzheimer after all, maybe they forgot how much caffeine they consumed ! *eyeroll*
I also note that this study was published in 2002, and we are not recommending Alzheimer patients drink 3 jugs of coffee each day yet.

Look, the author undoubtedly is well-meaning, and has just gone through the loss of a relative, but you can’t just write up stuff like this that is sloppily researched, not backed up, and factually incorrect, and expect people to not call you out on it.

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