Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coffee - The cause of and solution to all our problems..

There was a marvellous story on the BBC website recently. It reported research that suggested elevated coffee intake could raise the risk of hallucinations. If you drink more than 7 cups of instant coffee in a day you could start seeing ghosts and hearing voices.
However, there are some holes in this conclusion, as the study was conducted using 200 students from the University of Durham. Can I suggest (without stereotyping) that there may be other factors (lack of sleep) or substances (off milk) causing these poor students to hear voices? My favourite nugget of information however, is that 3% of the population regularly hear 'voices'. This means that nearly 2 million people in the UK right now are talking with the pixies in their head. I could be one of them - so could you.....

Anyway, to the point. The BBC news website very helpfully lists similar stories on the same page as the current story. This led to me spending a very enjoyable hour going gradually back in time reading all the things that coffee does to our poor unsuspecting bodies.

January 2006 10 cups a day increases female sex drive.
July 2008 4 cups a day reduces fertility
January 2008 4 cups a day increases the chance of miscarriage
February 2003 8 cups a day can double chance of stillbirth

June 2008 6-8 cups a day reduces your chances of developing ME
April 2008 1 cup a day helps protect the brain from dementia
January 2008 4 cups a day makes Diabetes worse
August 2007 3 cups a day protects memory in older women

July 2007 1 cup a day protects your skin from the sun
August 2002 May cure skin cancer one day
Janury 2007 2 cups can reduce post workout muscle pain by 48%

November 2005 6 cups of decaffeinated coffee a day increases chances of heart disease compared to 6 cups of regular coffee
October 2004 1 cup a day increases chance of heart disease
November 2002 Coffee doesn't raise blood pressure.

April 2002 Coffee may keep you awake at night (Shock horror!)

So what can we learn from our journey in medical scaremongering? Firstly, if you are female you are much worse off than us men. Particularly as you get the most of the negative effects and when you do get the positive ones - it works better for us. Secondly, if you are old it will help you keep your wits for longer. Thirdly, you can make data from most research say pretty much whatever you want. And finally, its all totally pointless as coffee doesn't even wake you up in the morning.
Blood Diamond ****
King Arthur (Director's Cut) ***
The Wrestler *****
X2 ****
Eastern Promises ****


Fat Roland said...

5 cups. 5 cups wasn't on your list. So drinking exactly 5 cups of coffee a day is consequence free!

Denham said...

More on the "coffee consumption causes hallucinations shock horror" here:

Valerie said...

It sounds like coffee makes one indecisive about research results.

I hallucinate sometimes (visual only, and sans artificial stimulants or provocation). But never hear voices...

Coffee tastes good. But at the moment, I'm drinking Lady Grey (with rice milk and sugar) and eating cocoa nibs, so I'm going in an alternate direction.

I vote for maté.

Tim Footman said...

I notice the Durham story refers to instant coffee. Since I am an insufferable snob and only drink ground coffee, am I safe?

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Fat: Yes, at least for NOW......

Denham: I love the bad science site, I've used it in classes before.

Valerie: Lady Grey eh? How terribly classy of you... Ooooo La-de-da!!!! Now where is my cup of Earl Grey....

Tim: Nope