Daily caffeine protects brain
Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.
The drink has already been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer's Disease, and a study by a US team for the Journal of Neuroinflammation may explain why.
A vital barrier between the brain and the main blood supply of rabbits fed a fat-rich diet was protected in those given a caffeine supplement.
UK experts said it was the "best evidence yet" of coffee's benefits
The "blood brain barrier" is a filter which protects the central nervous system from potentially harmful chemicals carried around in the rest of the bloodstream.
Other studies have shown that high levels of cholesterol in the blood can make this barrier "leaky".
Alzheimer's researchers suggest this makes the brain vulnerable to damage which can trigger or contribute to the condition.
The University of North Dakota study used the equivalent to just one daily cup of coffee in their experiments on rabbits.
After 12 weeks of a high-cholesterol diet, the blood brain barrier in those given caffeine was far more intact than in those given no caffeine.