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Can coffee intake increase multiple sclerosis disability?

Previous studies on caffeine and risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) yielded different results, with one study suggesting a positive effect on disease progression. In this study, researchers set out to investigate if coffee consumption is associated with MS disability.

One hundred and twenty-six MS patients attended a neuro immunology consultation between January and November 2017 and filled out questionnaires. The severity of each patients MS was evaluated by Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, 9-Hole Peg Test, timed 25-Foot Walk and Symbol Digit Modalities Test. High coffee intake was considered four or more cups per day.

The study’s cohort had an average age of 45.3 years and 76 (60.3%) were women. The mean age of MS onset was 29.7 years and mean duration of the condition 15.6 years. Seventy-nine per cent had relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS); 50% had an EDSS score of 0-3.5, 35.7% had a 3.5-6.0 EDSS score and 14.3% had a score of six or more. Regular coffee intake was observed for 78.6%. High coffee intake was present in 17.2%.

Men had higher coffee intake (29% vs 10.3%) but total coffee consumption was not different between genders. High coffee intake and total coffee consumption was associated with higher smoking habits.

No significant association was found between EDSS and high coffee intake or total coffee consumption. In addition, researchers did not find any difference regarding coffee intake and performance in 9-hole peg test, timed 25-Foot Walk and Symbol Digit Modalities Test.

Researchers concluded that coffee consumption does not seem to have a role in the progression of disability in MS patients. Further studies, namely prospective, are required to access this association.

This study was published in the ECTRIMS 2018 online library.

Source MS-UK 11/10/2018

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