New studies add to coffee debate

August 23, 2006 in Nutrition Topics in the News

New studies add to coffee debate

Two recent studies have added to the on-going debate regarding health effects of coffee.

The first study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington found that drinking the occasional cup of coffee could trigger a heart attack in some people within an hour.

The study, based on 500 people found that lack of exercise could make a cup of coffee more likely to trigger a heart attack and the highest danger was within an hour of drinking the beverage. Risk returned to normal 2 to 3 hours after the coffee intake. Researchers believe caffeine may rapidly increase nervous system activity and could be the cause for the heart attack. Researchers found that heavy coffee drinkers (4 or more cups per day) and consumers exercising regularly had a lower risk, because their bodies were used to coping with the change in the nervous system.

A second study, conducted by European researchers found that three cups of coffee a day could slow the loss of mental function of men.
The Finland, Italy and the Netherlands Elderly (FINE) Study followed over 675 men for ten years recording their daily coffee consumption and mental state. The results of the study found that men who had regular consumption of coffee had a lower rate of decline over the ten year period, compared to men who did not drink coffee. Further studies are needed to fully examine the effects of coffee on heart attack risk and mental function.

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