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New studies reveal coffee may reduce MS risk

Those who drank 4 to 6 cups a day had about 1/3 reduction in risk

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Coffee intake has been linked to a reduced risk of several diseases including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Now, two new studies find drinking coffee may also protect against multiple sclerosis.

"Those who had higher amounts of coffee intake, up to 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day, they actually had about a 1/3 reduction in the risk of developing MS later," said Dr. Robert Fox, who did not take part in the study but is a neurologist at Cleveland Clinic.

Kaiser Permanente researchers studied more than 2,000 people, of which about half were diagnosed with MS. They found people who did not drink coffee had about a one and a half times increased risk of developing MS. Similar results were seen in a Swedish study involving more than 4,000 people.

Coffee drinkers downed anywhere from four to six cups of coffee per day and researchers say caffeine should now be studied for its potential impact on the development of multiple sclerosis. Fox says the benefits may not stop there, so if you love coffee you should not feel guilty about drinking up.

"There is a growing recognition of potential health benefits of coffee. There are benefits on cardiovascular, or heart disease. There are benefits on diabetes and there even appear to be benefits on other neurologic diseases such as Parkinson's disease."

Complete findings for the study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's' annual meeting in April.