Entries in Caffeine (18)


Coffee Drinkers Less Likely to Develop Prostate Cancer, Study Claims

John Foxx/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that drinking coffee may have cancer-related benefits for men.

By assessing the coffee-drinking habits of almost 48,000 men over a period of 20 years, the authors – whose findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute – found that men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had an 18-percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to men who did not drink coffee. This association was even stronger for lethal prostate cancer, for which coffee drinkers were at a 60-percent lower risk than non-drinkers.

Caffeine has little to do with the possible benefit, as these effects were seen in men who drank regular as well as decaffeinated coffee.

This study comes on the heels of a separate report that showed that women who drink coffee stand at a lower risk of developing a particular type of breast cancer compared to women who did not drink, or rarely drank, coffee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Love of Caffeine Could Be Determined By Genes

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Md.) -- The amount of caffeine we drink may not be grounded in habit or lack of sleep. New research suggests that our own DNA is the biggest factor in determining whether we reach for that cup of java each morning.

A new study published in PLoS Genetics found that people who carry a particular version of two specific genes were much more likely to consume caffeine. The genes identified were CYP1A2, previously linked to the metabolism of caffeine, and AHR, involved in the regulation of CYP1A2.

"We know caffeine had an inherited component but for the first time we know specifically the major genes involved," said Dr. Neil Caporaso, branch chief of genetic epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute and senior investigator for the study. "Genetic studies have identified many associations with diseases, but very few for diet agents."

"We have a very clear finding for two genes that are highly plausible," he continued. "This offers a scalpel to investigate the many health effects of caffeine."

Harvard researchers analyzed the genes of more than 47,000 middle-aged Americans. Those in the study who had the "high-consumption" version of the gene drank about 40 mg more caffeine per day than people who had the "low-consumption" variant. Authors noted that this amount equals about an extra can of soda or a third of a cup of coffee.

The study noted that nine out of 10 adults eat or drink caffeine regularly and eight in 10 Americans who consume caffeine are coffee drinkers.

Caporaso said that it was "astonishing" to find the two associated caffeine genes after searching more than 300,000 genetic markers. And, since one gene regulates the other, "to find them both holding hands was amazing," he said.

"Caffeine is the most commonly consumed substance with important psychoactive properties," said Caporaso. "Just try skipping your coffee for two days! Knowing the specifics of the genetic influence on its disposition will jumpstart lots of studies."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Caffeine Gives Boys a Stronger Rush Than Girls

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Boys are stimulated more by caffeine than girls, according to new research, and both genders have a preference for junk food after being primed with caffeine, leaving scientists with tantalizing questions that they can't yet answer.

Does early exposure to caffeine predispose a person toward drug abuse?  Is caffeine a contributor to the current obesity epidemic?

Scientists at the University at Buffalo are exploring an area that has not been studied much, probably because caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, and it is thought to be largely benign.  Various studies show that, but those studies involved adults, not children.

And it turns out that lots of kids consume prodigious amounts of caffeine, mostly in sodas, but even very young children are drinking coffee.

That began worrying neurobiologist Jennifer Temple six years ago when she switched from animal research to human studies.

There's a fair amount more now because of a four-year research project by Temple and her colleagues at Buffalo.  The research is supported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

The latest study to come out of that work was published in December's issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacolgy.  In that carefully controlled study, boys experienced a greater rush and more energy from caffeine than girls.

Boys, but not girls, also thought the caffeine gave them a boost on the athletic field.  Diastolic blood pressure increased in boys, but not girls, and pulse dropped to offset the rising blood pressure.  This is believed to be the first time a gender difference in caffeine reaction has been documented among adolescents.

The Buffalo research reinforces other studies showing that children who drink sodas tend to have poor diets, and Temple said the correlation between caffeine and a preference for junk food is convincing.

In the latest study, 26 boys and 26 girls, age 12-17, took part in a series of experiments designed to measure the effect of various levels of caffeine.  The participants received a different dosage of caffeine each time, ranging from high to none, the latter serving as a placebo.

The bottom line: the more caffeine they consumed, the more calories they ate, including junk food.  Of course, the sodas also had lots of sugar, so was it the caffeine or the sugar hit that caused them to turn to sweet foods?

Temple says she's confident it was the caffeine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Coffee Helps Women, Not Men, Handle Stress

, (BRISTOL, U.K.) -- Coffee has been known to help battle drowsiness, but a new study has found that a cup of Joe can also help women - not men - perform in stressful situations.

Psychologists at Bristol University have discovered that a caffeinated cup of coffee can actually increase a woman's ability to perform in a high-pressure situation, while it causes men to actually work slower and less confidently.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Science, studied 64 men and women who were given a variety of tasks and were told they would have to give a public presentation on their tasks. Researchers found that men who had consumed caffeinated coffee had an "impaired" ability to perform their tasks while women who drank coffee completed their tasks 100 seconds faster. 

Study researchers said the fact that the effects of coffee in these situations vary by sex is likely due to the differences in how men and women respond to stress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Declares Four Loko, Similar Beverages Unsafe

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WABC-TV New York(WASHINGTON) -- In an expected move, the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday launched a crackdown on popular alcoholic caffeinated drinks such as Four Loko, declaring the products unsafe.

The FDA has notified four companies marketing the popular drinks that adding caffeine to alcohol was unsafe and unapproved.  The FDA stated in letters to the companies that if they do not take steps within 15 days to halt sales of the products, the regulatory agency would obtain a court order to bar them.

In a written statement, Joshua M. Sharfstein, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner, declared the agency “does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is generally recognized as safe, which is the legal standard.  To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”

The FDA announcement came one day after Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko, announced it was removing caffeine and two other ingredients from the product.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Michigan First State to Ban 'Four Loko' Drink, Others May Follow

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- More states may follow Michigan's lead in banning the popular alcoholic energy drink Four Loko after reports that dozens of college students have been hospitalized after drinking too much Four Loko. Michigan's liquor control commission banned the retail sale of all alcoholic energy drinks statewide, including Four Loko, saying the drinks "present a threat to the public health and safety."

Commonly known among college students as "blackout in a can," one can of the fruity liquor malt combines 12 percent alcohol with a kick of caffeine sized to an average cup of coffee. The contrasting effects of consuming alcohol and stimulants conceal the effects of the alcohol.

Many college campuses sent notices to students warning about the potential dangers of alcoholic energy drinks, and some campuses, such as the University of Rhode Island, have banned the drink. But now, advocates in New York and Oregon are pushing for a statewide sales ban.

The Food and Drug Administration is already investigating caffeinated alcoholic drinks, including Four Loko, and is asking for justification for putting caffeine in the beverages. Attorneys general in New York and New Jersey have also called for federal investigations following incidents involving college students in those states.

The Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania (MBDA) Tuesday also asked its members statewide to stop sale of and remove Four Loko from store shelves due to health and safety concerns.

“Until the safety questions and other concerns about Four Loko are resolved, MBDA is asking its members not to sell this item," David Shipula, MBDA President, wrote in a letter to more than 600 beer distributors. "We hope all other licensee trade associations will carefully consider this issue and advise their members also to halt sales."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Alcohol-Caffeine Drinks Pose Health Risk to College-Age Population

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Concern over a controversial beverage concoction of caffeine and booze, which some experts say may not even be legal, could be posing a new health threat for the drinks' biggest fans: college-age people.

The drinks, with names like Joose, Torque and Four Loko, come in large cans covered with colorful graphics that experts and some students say make the alcoholic beverages hard to tell apart from non-alcoholic ones.  The drinks sell for about three dollars each.

Four Loko comes in a 23.5 ounce can that contains 2.82 ounces of alcohol, or 12 percent.  Experts say you'd have to drink almost six cans of Bud Light beer, or 67.2 ounces, to ingest the same amount of alcohol.

The drinks also come with a jolt.  The fruit punch-flavored Four Loko has 156 milligrams of caffeine.  An eight ounce cup of coffee, by comparison, has about 100 milligrams of caffeine.

A growing number of doctors, lawmakers state and federal officials are warning of potentially serious health problems from the drinks, and some experts argue they are illegal under current federal law.

Doctor Mary Claire O'Brien of Wake Forest University led a recent study on the effects of combining alcohol and caffeine.  She found that compared to college students who drink only alcohol, students who drink booze mixed with energy drinks are twice as likely to be injured, require medical attention or ride with an intoxicated driver.  Those students are also more than twice as likely to take advantage of someone sexually.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Excess Caffeine Could Lead to Urinary Incontinence in Women

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Excess caffeine intake can increase the probability of women developing urinary incontinence, according to the findings of a new study.

''Women who consume high levels of caffeine are 70 percent more likely to have urinary incontinence than women who don't," says Jon Gleason, MD, an instructor and fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School's Division of Women's Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

According to WebMD, Gleason is set to present his findings at the American Urogynecologic Society's annual meeting in Long Beach, California on Friday.  In the study, women who reported consuming 329 milligrams or more of caffeine daily had a 70 percent higher chance of unintentionally losing urine.

Urinary incontinence affects more than 13 million Americans.  Most of those affected are women, who are most likely to develop it during pregnancy, childbirth, or during menopause and its hormonal changes, due to weakened pelvic muscles.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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