Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Coffee consumption is inversely associated with cognitive decline in elderly European men: the FINE Study



To investigate whether coffee consumption is associated with 10-year cognitive decline in elderly men, as results of previous studies obtained hitherto have been controversial and prospective information on this association has been lacking.

Design, subjects and setting:

Six hundred and seventy six healthy men born between 1900 and 1920 from Finland, Italy and the Netherlands participated in a 10-year prospective cohort study. Cognitive functioning was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (0–30 points, with a higher score indicating better cognitive performance). Coffee consumption was estimated in cups per day. A mixed longitudinal model was used to investigate the association between baseline coffee consumption and 10-year cognitive decline. Multiple adjustments were made.


Men who consumed coffee had a 10-year cognitive decline of 1.2 points (4%). Non-consumers had an additional decline of 1.4 points (P<0.001). An inverse and J-shaped association was observed between the number of cups of coffee consumed and cognitive decline, with the least cognitive decline for three cups of coffee per day (0.6 points). This decline was 4.3 times smaller than the decline of non-consumers (P<0.001).


Findings suggest that consuming coffee reduces cognitive decline in elderly men. An inverse and J-shaped association may exist between the number of cups of coffee consumed and cognitive decline, with the least cognitive decline for men consuming three cups of coffee per day.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2


  • Bijnen FC, Feskens EJ, Caspersen CJ, Giampaoli S, Nissinen AM, Menotti A et al. (1996). Physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors among elderly men in Finland, Italy, and the Netherlands. Am J Epidemiol 143, 553–561.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Caspersen CJ, Bloemberg BP, Saris WH, Merritt RK, Kromhout D (1991). The prevalence of selected physical activities and their relation with coronary heart disease risk factors in elderly men: the Zutphen Study, 1985. Am J Epidemiol 133, 1078–1092.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Christen Y (2000). Oxidative stress and Alzheimer disease. Am J Clin Nutr 71, 621S–629S.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dall'Igna OP, Porciuncula LO, Souza DO, Cunha RA, Lara DR (2003). Neuroprotection by caffeine and adenosine A2A receptor blockade of beta-amyloid neurotoxicity. Br J Pharmacol 138, 1207–1209.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fillenbaum GG, George LK, Blazer DG (1988). Scoring nonresponse on the Mini-Mental State Examination. Psychol Med 18, 1021–1025.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR (1975). ‘Mini-mental state’. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res 12, 189–198.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fredholm BB, Battig K, Holmen J, Nehlig A, Zvartau EE (1999). Actions of caffeine in the brain with special reference to factors that contribute to its widespread use. Pharmacol Rev 51, 83–133.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Jarvis MJ (1993). Does caffeine intake enhance absolute levels of cognitive performance? Psychopharmacology (Berlin) 110, 45–52.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson-Kozlow M, Kritz-Silverstein D, Barrett-Connor E, Morton D (2002). Coffee consumption and cognitive function among older adults. Am J Epidemiol 156, 842–850.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keys A, Aravanis C, Blackburn HW, Van Buchem FS, Buzina R, Djordjevic BD et al. (1966). Epidemiological studies related to coronary heart disease: characteristics of men aged 40–59 in seven countries. Acta Med Scand Suppl 460, 1–392.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kopf SR, Melani A, Pedata F, Pepeu G (1999). Adenosine and memory storage: effect of A(1) and A(2) receptor antagonists. Psychopharmacology (Berlin) 146, 214–219.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kromhout D, Nissinen A, Menotti A, Bloemberg B, Pekkanen J, Giampaoli S (1990). Total and HDL cholesterol and their correlates in elderly men in Finland, Italy, and The Netherlands. Am J Epidemiol 131, 855–863.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Launer LJ (1992). Overview of incidence studies of dementia conducted in Europe. Neuroepidemiology 11 (Suppl 1), 2–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lieberman HR, Tharion WJ, Shukitt-Hale B, Speckman KL, Tulley R (2002). Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during US Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land. Psychopharmacology (Berlin) 164, 250–261.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lindsay J, Laurin D, Verreault R, Hebert R, Helliwell B, Hill GB et al. (2002). Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease: a prospective analysis from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Am J Epidemiol 156, 445–453.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lorist MM, Tops M (2003). Caffeine, fatigue, and cognition. Brain Cogn 53, 82–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lyketsos CG, Garrett E, Liang KY, Anthony JC (1999). Cannabis use and cognitive decline in persons under 65 years of age. Am J Epidemiol 149, 794–800.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Maia L, de Mendonca A (2002). Does caffeine intake protect from Alzheimer's disease? Eur J Neurol 9, 377–382.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Murden RA, McRae TD, Kaner S, Bucknam ME (1991). Mini-Mental State exam scores vary with education in blacks and whites. J Am Geriatr Soc 39, 149–155.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Nardini M, Cirillo E, Natella F, Scaccini C (2002). Absorption of phenolic acids in humans after coffee consumption. J Agric Food Chem 50, 5735–5741.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Natella F, Nardini M, Giannetti I, Dattilo C, Scaccini C (2002). Coffee drinking influences plasma antioxidant capacity in humans. J Agric Food Chem 50, 6211–6216.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Riedel WJ, Jolles J (1996). Cognition enhancers in age-related cognitive decline. Drugs Aging 8, 245–274.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Siu AL (1991). Screening for dementia and investigating its causes. Ann Intern Med 115, 122–132.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Smith A (2002). Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food Chem Toxicol 40, 1243–1255.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Svilaas A, Sakhi AK, Andersen LF, Svilaas T, Strom EC, Jacobs Jr DR et al. (2004). Intakes of antioxidants in coffee, wine, and vegetables are correlated with plasma carotenoids in humans. J Nutr 134, 562–567.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Tombaugh TN, McIntyre NJ (1992). The Mini-Mental State Examination: a comprehensive review. J Am Geriatr Soc 40, 922–935.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Van Boxtel MP, Schmitt JA, Bosma H, Jolles J (2003). The effects of habitual caffeine use on cognitive change: a longitudinal perspective. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 75, 921–927.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The FINE Study is a part of the HALE project (Healthy Ageing: Longitudinal study in Europe) and supported by a grant from the European Union (QLK6-CT-2000-00211) to D Kromhout.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to B M van Gelder.

Additional information

Guarantor: B van Gelder.

Contributors: All authors have contributed substantially to conception and design of the study, or analyses and interpretation of the data. They approved the final version and will take public responsibility for the content of this paper. There are no conflicts of interest with other organizations:BM van Gelder prepared part of the database, analyzed the data, and wrote the draft of the paper. B Buijsse, M Tijhuis and S Kalmijn contributed to the data analysis and drafting of the paper. S Kalmijn, S Giampaoli, A Nissinen and D Kromhout all contributed to the data collection. S Giampaoli, A Nissinen and D Kromhout are principal investigators of the FINE study in respectively Italy, Finland and The Netherlands. D Kromhout contributed to the drafting of the paper. All authors contributed to the final version of the paper and gave their approval to publish this final version.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

van Gelder, B., Buijsse, B., Tijhuis, M. et al. Coffee consumption is inversely associated with cognitive decline in elderly European men: the FINE Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 226–232 (2007).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • coffee
  • cognition
  • elderly
  • epidemiology

This article is cited by


Quick links