Association of Coffee Consumption with MRI Markers and Cognitive Function: A Population-Based Study

Larissa Fortunato Araújo, Saira Saeed Mirza, Daniel Bos, Wiro J. Niessen, Sandhi Maria Barreto, Aad Van Der Lugt, Meike W. Vernooij, Albert Hofman, Henning Tiemeier, M. Arfan Ikram, M. Cristina Polidori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide and has been of considerable interest in research on cognition and dementia. Objective: To investigate the effect of coffee on preclinical brain MRI markers of dementia and cognitive performance. Methods: In 2,914 participants from the population-based Rotterdam Study (mean age: 59.3±7.2 years, 55 females), we assessed coffee consumption, performed brain MRI, and assessed cognition at baseline. To study cognitive change, cognitive assessment was repeated after 5 years of follow-up. Coffee consumption was analyzed continuously (per cup increase) and in categories (0-1,>1-3,>3 cups/day). Using logistic and linear regression, associations of coffee consumption with lacunar infarcts and brain tissue volumes on MRI, and cognitive performance (cross-sectional and longitudinal) were investigated, adjusting for relevant confounders. Results: We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of lacunar infarcts [odds ratio per cup increase: 0.88 (95 CI:0.79;0.98)], and smaller hippocampal volume [difference: -0.01 (95 CI:-0.02;0.00)]. Also, we found that the highest category of coffee consumption was associated with better performance on the Letter Digit Substitution Task [difference: 1.13(95 CI:0.39;1.88)], Word Fluency test [0.74(95 CI:0.04,1.45)], Stroop interference task [1.82(95 CI:0.23;3.41)], and worse performance on the 15-Word Learning test delayed recall [-0.38(95 CI:-0.74;-0.02)]. These associations were not found when cognition was analyzed longitudinally. Conclusion: We found complex associations between coffee consumption, brain structure, and cognition. Higher coffee consumption was cross-sectionally associated with a lower occurrence of lacunar infarcts and better executive function, but also with smaller hippocampal volume and worse memory function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-461
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Brain imaging
  • Brain tissue
  • Coffee consumption
  • Cognitive function
  • Epidemiology
  • MRI


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