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Caffeine Prevents Liver Disease

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the geeks-in-good-shape dept.

Science 294

DC Jeff writes "The Washington Post reports that drinking two cups of coffee or tea daily may reduce the risk of liver disease. From the article: 'The study of nearly 10,000 people showed that those who drank more than two cups of coffee or tea per day developed chronic liver disease at half the rate of those who drank less than one cup each day.'"

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Sod That! (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187152)


"The Washington Post reports that drinking two cups of coffee or tea daily may reduce the risk of liver disease.

There goes the price of a cuppa and my afternoon tea.

We'll all be healthy and alert. Positively jumping with pep, vim and vigor. Ready to take on whatever the day throws our way, right? The only problem is the body compensates for caffeine and after the first dose it has a lesser impact. I can atest to nodding off with an empty coffee mug in front of me. Who knows, thought, it could explain the bit about the englishmen going out in the noon-day sun.

It's a bit thin on detail. I wonder why caffeinated sodas aren't mentioned. You could be trading your teeth for a healthier liver, right? Too bad George Best didn't know about this sooner. This should bode well for the market of caffeinated beer.

Re:Sod That! (4, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187262)

"You could be trading your teeth for a healthier liver, right?"

And, hey, teeth are relatively easy to replace. No organ donor is even required.

Re:Sod That! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187376)

All that Mt. Dew Will finally pay off!

Re:Sod That! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187297)

"Positively jumping with pep, vim and vigor"

I use EMACS, you insensitive clod!

People will write any old shit to get first post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187368)

Your comment proves it.

Re:Sod That! (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187387)

This should bode well for the market of caffeinated beer.
Sentance #1 from TFA: Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink too much alcohol, are overweight or have too much iron in the blood, researchers reported yesterday.

Anyways, I'm not sure caffeinated beer is a good idea. Generally speaking, unless you're really partying hard, your motor skills and level of consciousness decline as your BAC goes up... preventing alcohol poisoning. If you throw a stimulant into the mix, it might keep you drinking well past the point where you should be on the floor & passed out.

Re:Sod That! (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187483)

If you throw a stimulant into the mix, it might keep you drinking well past the point where you should be on the floor & passed out.

I honestly believe piling the blood with a plethrora of substances doesn't eventually do a body good. I've been utterly strung out on so much caffeine, from the days I worked 16-18 hour days for months straight, I slept fitfully and effectively went through detox every weekend, before starting again on Monday. I went through a pound of coffee a week at that time. I certainly didn't feel any better for it.

Mostly I limit my pints and if I'm wobbly afoot, I sit down and drink water until I feel clearer of head. Also helps reduce the chance and serverity of hangovers.

Re:Sod That! (1)

DrFrob (568991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187599)

Actually, I had been thinking about trying to brew a coffee stout. So it sounds like a damn good idea now.

Re:Sod That! (3, Insightful)

ender- (42944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187612)

Sentance #1 from TFA: Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink too much alcohol,

Of course, they could just stop drinking so much alcohol...

yeah, but is it coffee/tea, or is it the caffine? (1)

HelloKitty (71619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187482)


you're assuming it's the caffine that helps.
Maybe it's the coffee or the tea.
I wonder if decaf would still have a positive effect.
maybe I should RTFA to find out...

Re:yeah, but is it coffee/tea, or is it the caffin (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187504)

you're assuming it's the caffine that helps. Maybe it's the coffee or the tea. I wonder if decaf would still have a positive effect. maybe I should RTFA to find out...

As I said, the article was thin on detail. Probably best to whip around to your physician and ask to read the journal mentioned.

Study supported by Coffee Growers Assn. of America (1)

gwayne (306174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187492)

Doh!

Caffeeine bonus (5, Funny)

chunews (924590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187162)

Plus, they were able to become the First Poster, at nearly twice the rate!

Re:Caffeeine bonus (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187180)

Plus, they were able to become the First Poster, at nearly twice the rate!

Jj-just l-lay o-off, k-k'?

Now in the Health Food Aisle: Jolt!

That's because..... (5, Interesting)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187163)

The other folks are drinking booze instead.

There's the rub (4, Interesting)

Irishman (9604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187258)

The study shows protection for people who drink too much, are overweight or have hemochromatosis (too much iron). Basically, anyone at a high risk of liver disease. Otherwise it doesn't seem to do much of anything.

Re:There's the rub (2, Insightful)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187306)

The study shows protection for people who drink too much, are overweight or have hemochromatosis (too much iron). Basically, anyone at a high risk of liver disease. Otherwise it doesn't seem to do much of anything.

So basically 80% of /.?

Sweet! (4, Funny)

1984 (56406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187166)

My four Diet Cokes during the day should balance the 12 beers each evening.

Re:Sweet! (2)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187382)

With all the Mountain Dew I drink I should have enough protection to go around for about 12 livers.

Damn! (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187477)

Looking at how much Diet Coke and coffee I've had today I could've had an extra pint of Harpoon IPA last night. I just don't think my bladder could handle it though.

O Rly? (5, Interesting)

SilentOne (197494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187169)

How many people in the study were killed off by high blood pressure before they had the chance to develop cancer?

Re:O Rly? (5, Insightful)

ATeamMrT (935933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187362)

How many people in the study were killed off by high blood pressure before they had the chance to develop cancer?

Good question!

It seems that any industry can produce a study which says their product is healthy/benificial in some way. But they never tell you the adverse health effects. I would not be supprised if the tobacco industry would run a news story saying smoking decreased colon cancer by .0001% in the population. Too bad it would kill 100X as many from lung cancer.

This reminds me of the 80's when everyone was saying how bad butter is, and to switch to margarine or die of a heart attack. 10 years later, researchers said margarine is unhealthy and butter is better. I remember the same debate about eggs, until some researcher enlightened us to good cholesterol. LOL, I guess it took someone to fly to France to watch 80 year old men eat eggs fried in butter before they asked "What's going on here".

I am going to take my grandmothers advice, she is still alive in her 90's. She told me when I was young to get 8 good hours of sleep each night. Don't stay up past midnight, wake up early and ready for the new day. And everything is good in moderation, never take too much of anything. The only thing she said to avoid was smoke and drugs, and people who smoke or use drugs. The last bit of advice was that tomorrow is always a new day, no setback should foul your mood. It is pretty simple advice, but I think she was 100% correct.

Forget coffee! (2, Informative)

bwd (936324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187174)

Green tea [wikipedia.org] has caffeine just like coffee but has immeasurably more benefits, such as reducing the likelihood of all kinds of cancers and tumors. Further, it has been shown in some studies to do more good for the heart than a glass of wine every day. All coffee has is caffeine.

Nope (4, Informative)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187220)

"Vinson and his team studied the content of antioxidants in various foods, like vegetables, fruits, tea and cocoa. They eventually decided to look at coffee as well. When they did, they found that both regular and decaffeinated coffee contain significant amounts of antioxidants, though Vinson does note that fruits and vegetables are more nutritious sources.

What kind of health benefits can people expect to receive from drinking coffee? According to Martin, "Predominantly in epidemiologic studies, there have been associations between coffee consumption and lowered rates of certain illnesses, like suicide, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, Type II diabetes, colon cancer and heart disease." (Epidemiologic studies are often historical trials that are not considered definitive by clinicians.)"

Re:Nope (3, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187288)

Wait... *suicide* is an illness now?

Re:Nope (5, Informative)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187349)

Technically it is a symptom.

Depression is the illness usually leading to suicide.

Re:Nope (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187388)

Ok, absolutely. Heck, you could even say "suicidal tendencies" and I'd buy that. But the statement that was quoted doesn't make sense is all I'm saying. And while I might assume that they mean "depression", I can't be sure and merely wish that they'd been clearer.

Re:Nope (4, Funny)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187389)

Yes, I was coming down with suicide earlier this week, then some hottie showed me her boobies and I was cured.

Re:Nope (4, Funny)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187487)

Yup.

It's terminal.

Re:Forget coffee! (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187221)

You might have to drink a lot more though, depending on how much caffeine they recommend. According to this [wilstar.com] , green tea only has about 15mg of caffeine versus 65 in the least potent coffee. If the study is as decribed, my regular Coke intake (34mg per can) will benefit me similarly :)

Re:Forget coffee! (1)

cli_rules! (915096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187227)

It would be good to know if Yerba Mate is similarly effective in terms of liver protection:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerba_mate [wikipedia.org]

Re:Forget coffee! (1)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187264)

"All coffee has is caffeine."

What ill-informed garbage.

Americans get the vast majority of their antioxidants from drinking coffee. It's full of them.

Re:Forget coffee! (0)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187343)

Wait, are you disagreeing that all coffee has caffeine? I can't tell. But as far as I know, all decaffeination processes merely reduce the caffeine levels, they don't remove it entirely. Decaff coffee has about 5 mg of caffeine per 8-oz cup. That's a serious reduction from the usual levels, but it's still detectable to some people. (My father, for example, has to avoid caffeine even at those levels thanks to his migraines.)

Re:Forget coffee! (2, Informative)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187475)

The quote from the GP said:
"All coffee has is caffeine." (bold mine). As in, coffee contains caffeine and nothing else. I can see how you missed the "is" part, I missed it the first time I read it.

Re:Forget coffee! (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187529)

Ah, thanks. I was probably reading what I expected to see rather than what was there.

Actually... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187281)

Recent studies have shown that coffee (caffeinated, not decaf) has as high or higher antioxidant levels than tea. (Unfortunately I don't have a link to the study, its at home and I'm at work... check Google news)And as a previous poster noted you'd have to drink a helluva lot of tea to get the same amount of caffeine.

-everphilski-

Re:Forget coffee! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187298)

Green tea has caffeine just like coffee but has immeasurably more benefits, such as reducing the likelihood of all kinds of cancers and tumors. Further, it has been shown in some studies to do more good for the heart than a glass of wine every day. All coffee has is caffeine.

It also goes well with asian foods :9

I've been more into Chai and Rooibos lately.

Re:Forget coffee! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187332)

Too bad it tastes as bad as the British smell.

Re:Forget coffee! (1)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187444)

And a shitload of antioxidants, more than just about anything else actually, including green tea.

Great! (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187181)

Highly caffeinated and highly medicated.

All night gamers are in good shape! (1)

stavromueller (934803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187184)

See, Bawls must be good for you.

Re:All night gamers are in good shape! (1)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187438)

I say that to my girlfriend all the time.

Great News! (5, Funny)

XLawyer (68496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187187)

So first we find out that masturbation lowers the risk of prostate cancer [bbc.co.uk] , and now we learn that caffeine prevents liver disease.

Dude, I'm going to live forever!

Re:Great News! (1, Funny)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187413)

However masturbating while drinking coffee can lead to other forms of illness. Or maybe it caused by other forms of illness, I forget which.

finally, an explanation (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187198)

I suppose this explains the reason why I always want to drink coffee after getting wasted... the liver knows best ;)

Hey, it sounds better then that bumper sticker, "The liver is evil and must be destroyed" ;)

Kafaanethanoltsi - A life back in Balance (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187199)

Finally, the .sig quote becomes true. To bring the life back into balance...

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion,
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
The hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning,
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

I must drink beer.
Beer is the painkiller.
And beer is the little drink that brings total satisfaction.
I will drink my beer.
I will permit it to pass through me.
And where the beer has gone there will be nothing.
Only a hangover will remain.

Caffeine in the morning to awaken the mind and refresh the liver. Alcochol at night to knock 'em both back down again for a good night's sleep.

irish coffee (5, Funny)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187200)

So I guess Irish Coffee sorta balances it out? The liquor trashes the liver, the caffiene saves it. And isometric intoxication too!

Now where's my Bushmills and Jamaica Blue coffee beans?

Ahh. (1)

citizenklaw (767566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187201)

Caffeine once more saves the day! I love this molecule! Now all I need is for Slashdot to post something that defends Beer as a Lifesaver and my the justifications I need for my vices will be complete. "But Honey, Slashdot sez that Coffee and Beer are healthy! I don't need to curb my drinking!!".

I always say... (2, Insightful)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187208)

Everything in moderation, even moderation.

There is no "trick" to living longer, just use commmon sense.

The trick is... (3, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187290)

The trick to longevity has a lot to do with picking the right parents!

Re:I always say... (1)

Torinir (870836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187605)

Common sense is an oxymoron.

Just listen to a few of the support calls I get and you'll agree.

Interesting (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187210)

I would think that the people drinking more than one cup of coffe in the morning would be the ones trying to recover from the heavy hangover from the night before...

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187249)

You don't work in a big city, do you?

Damn the French... (3, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187213)


Red Wine = Lower risk of heart disease
Coffee = Lower risk of Liver disease

Turns out the smug buggers were right all along to laugh at the latest health craze from the US.

You forgot (1)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187414)

Deodorant = Increased risk of Breast Cancer, which explains a lot...

Re:Damn the French... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187501)

No occupation of Iraq = Lower risk of lead poisoning, getting blown to shit. Damn those frogs and their healthy lifestyle.

If it's caffeine that counts... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187215)

If it's the caffeine that counts, then how about Jolt Cola.?

If so, then the Microsoft campus should the most liver diesase-free spot on Earth.

Hmmm.... (1)

jupiter_ganymede (741242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187219)

Does that mean if I drink a beer and a coffee together that they cancel out? I sense some possibilities here...

Breaking even with a Jaeger-bomb? (1)

JavaSavant (579820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187222)

Red Bull + Vodka has no net effect, then?

Re:Breaking even with a Jaeger-bomb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187403)

A jager bomb is Red Bull + Jagermeister

It gives you wings (3, Funny)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187539)

that will just give your liver wings

Which bears the question... (1)

foxtrot (14140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187234)

Is there something in coffee or tea that helps your liver?

Or is it simply that any liquid intake you have that's coffee or tea is liquid intake that's not beer?

-F

Re:Which bears the question... (1)

Torinir (870836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187375)

Is there something in coffee or tea that helps your liver?

Or is it simply that any liquid intake you have that's coffee or tea is
liquid intake that's not beer?

-F

Sacrilege...

Now where's my Irish Coffee?!?

Wel, let's see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187417)

I don't know man, I can double-fist coffee and beer like the best of them. Plus, there's your coffee with whiskey, bourbon, rye. Or if, you take sugar, coffee and Baileys, or coffee and Kahlua, or coffee and some damn concoction of sugary liqueurs. Then, you've got coffee with a white Russian thrown in, hell, gin-and-milk plus coffee is probably OK, too... ;)

breakthrough in science... (5, Funny)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187236)

Studies show that with absolute certainty, sleep is lethal. Everybody who has ever slept will at some point die. It is unavoidable. We better stay away from it.

In other news, stupidity (and the blind belief in statistical based research) causes cancer.

Causation connection....??? (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187237)

Maybe:
  • Folks with hepatitis or cirrosis are too ill to drink coffee.
  • Like the guy said, the other people were drinking sterno.
  • Brazilians die of other things before liver problems can kill them.

Sick and tired,.... (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187244)

... is what I'm getting of these kinds of studies. No actual science, just number crunching.

What is that saying again?
There are three kinds of deception:
Lies, damned lies and statistics.

Caffeine Credits (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187254)

Terrific, with my consumption maybe I can sell caffeine credits!

At the very least the people who bet my blood through my donations will be safe.

early grave (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187259)

is this isn't license for a million geeks to drink theirselves to an early - jittery - caffeine grave then I don't know what is. Yes I'm typing this with a doctor Pepper in one hand. oh and ps, who has beaten fry's coffee record?

How many people do you know with chronic liver (1)

presarioD (771260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187279)

disease?

So does this mean... (2, Interesting)

parasonic (699907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187295)

Alcohol --> Bad for the liver
Coffee --> Good for the liver


Does this mean that Kahlua cancels itself out? If so, I'm going to get trashed tonight!!

Maybe that's because... (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187317)

People die of heart disease, digestive canceres, etc. much faster than they die of liver failure.

Hard to die of both which might just skew the results a little, ya think? :-)

Caffeine is your friend (2, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187325)

Good news, to be added to the possibility that caffeine is is linked to protection from Parkinson's disease [harvard.edu] . Makes those first couple of mugs of coffee taste that much sweeter... well, that and 2 heaping tablesoons of sugar and all the packets of Splenda® I can find.

Good news all over the place (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187327)

A few days ago on I believe CNN: Coffee improves your memory, at least short term memory, long term still needs to be researched, hence the "on I believe CNN".
Today coffee saves my liver
Now some math with coffee:
2 cups to improve my memory
2 cups to save my live
Just doubling the dose to be on the safe side= 8 cups of coffee in a day should be ok I guess.

And off again to the next topic.

Re:Good news all over the place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187471)

A few days ago on I believe CNN: Coffee improves your memory

nope, sorry you're mistaken.

Re:Good news all over the place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187512)

Just doubling the dose to be on the safe side= 8 cups of coffee in a day should be ok I guess.

And off again to the next topic.


And would that topic be "How to urinate without leaving your cubical"?

So, um... (1)

krunchyfrog (786414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187337)

Is this still good with decaf?

In other news... (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187340)

Coffee drinkers have twice the rate of kidney failure than non coffee drinkers.

gasmonso http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:In other news... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187378)

"Coffee drinkers have twice the rate of kidney failure than non coffee drinkers."

See? You can't win with these scientific studies. That's why I drink Irish Coffee, there is a neglible chance that my liver will be saved, but if not, at least I will be too drunk to notice otherwise.

What about those who didn't comsume any caffiene? (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187342)

It says... "The study of nearly 10,000 people showed that those who drank more than two cups of coffee or tea per day developed chronic liver disease at half the rate of those who drank less than one cup each day."

What about people who didn't consume ANY caffiene what so ever?

I assume that they fall into the 'those who drank less than one cup each day' category, but TFA is way to generalized to really reveal any useful information.

I'll just assume that this is more FUD, intended to increase the caffiene intake of this workforce society, to help boost (capitalist) productivity, via (capitalist) coffee consumption.

Did starbucks sponser this research? or was it Juan Valdez? *pssh*

With tradeoffs (2, Interesting)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187344)

And decaffeinated coffee was recently discovered to raise your LDL cholesterol, the bad kind. Always a tradeoff, eh?

Armchair doctors says: (2, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187345)

Caffeine's a diuretic. I'll bet any diuretic will do the same.

Re:Armchair doctors says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187500)

alcohol is a diuretic
alcohol is not good for your liver
therefore you are an idiot
QED

Hmm... (2, Funny)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187363)

Well, I guess drinking a few Irish Coffees a day isn't as bad for your liver as you thought it was.

Kind of reminds me of my senior year in college, when I realized most of my vitamin C came from the screwdrivers I drank.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187379)

Things that happen to be good for you sometimes also have caffine in it. Mostly "tea" (Grean, Black, White etc.).

and dog urine lowers heart attack risk (0, Troll)

crimethinker (721591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187395)

Every day, something new will either kill you or make you live forever. For example, check out this one:

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found a link between the consumption of dog urine and the decreased likelihood of heart attacks, team leaders announced Tuesday in cracking, uneven voices.

"Our research indicates that by drinking six to eight glasses of fresh dog urine per day, individuals can reduce the risk of cardiac arrest by as much as 70 percent,"

Source: The Onion [theonion.com]

How about a sensible diet, a variety of foods, don't O.D. on anything, and you'll be OK, says the geek who can pound a six-pack of Mountain Dew every day and still sleep like a baby.

-paul

Repeat after me (2, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187400)

"Correlation does not prove causation"

Repeat as necessary.

Read the article summary: limited benefit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187406)

It says that drinking certain beverages help those at risk of liver difficulty from alchohol consumption.

Incidence (5, Insightful)

henryhbk (645948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187416)

The key to these studies, which we teach all the residents and medical students, is that you have to look at the incidence of liver disease (especially when they specifically excluded viral hepatitis which is the overwhelming majority) in the population. If the incidence is one in 100,000 and you get a 50% reduction (sounds impressive) you only change it to 1 in 200,000. This is why pharmaceutical firms use the relative risk (ignoring incidence, just using the percentage) in advertising.

The incidence of liver disease among non-hepatitis infected people is incredibly small. If you take all comers it is 12th among cause of death (lower than suicde) according to the NIH (pdf of causes of death) [cdc.gov] .

Because even if the result is statistically significant, if not that many people die of it (~2500 in 2003), then the harm caused by this drug (caffine) may not outway the rare case it saves (and yes, I understand if you're the one it is significant, but this is public health)

For instance "Zipia reduces aliens ripping out of your abdomen by 99%" sounds very impressive, until you look at how many people this would affect (there were the 4 alien movies plus spaceballs). So everyone should not start using zipia, which undoubtably will cause some bad side effect, versus those few actors who would be saved.

Other effects (2, Interesting)

Chris Bradshaw (933608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187424)

Ok, so you have less of a chance of liver disease... What about the diuretic effects, and effects on other organs?

Water loss leads impaired kidney function, and loss of vital nutrients, i.e., calcium. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/columnnn/nn03110 3.html [colostate.edu]

So unless your the rare geek who staggers each $caffeinatedDrink with two glasses of water and a Flinstones vitamin - your on the loosing end. But what the hell, everything will kill you in one way or another...

Hooray (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187430)

"The Washington Post reports that drinking two cups of coffee or tea daily may reduce the risk of liver disease."

Hooray for thoroughly misleading post titles.

Strive for equilibrium (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187441)

Drink kahlua

Again, irresponsible medical reports (5, Informative)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187445)

I grow tired of these kinds of "studies", those that say drinking beer, wine, tea, coffee, coke, or even smoking have some benefits. Especially when they start saying that 1 or 2 cups or servings of someting will prevent something else.

These studies are generally aimed at foods or products that are generally considered to be unhealthy or otherwise, the people making these products are in a defensive position to try and validate their existence.

The problem is that there are those people just waiting for an excuse to over-indulge in these products. If drinking 2 cups of beer a day prevents cancer, then by drinking 12 I will live to 100, right?

Often people just read the caption without reading the entire article, or in many cases, the finer points of the study are excluded to a terse clipping of the conclusion without preventing the facts, those facts usually explaining how overindulgence could cause adverse medical problems. This is the case here in Slashdot where many people simply read the blurb without delving into the hyperlinked article.

Also, these studies are usually contradictory to other studies. Recently it was reported on Slashdot that drinking even one cup of coffee was linked to some kind of adverse health issue. The studies conflict each other, meaning that the truth of the matter is never effectively conveyed by both parties. People that love coffee will be quicker to believe that it is more beneficial to them then those that don't drink it, who would quote coffee is harmful to you.

Lastely, these studdies generally ignore other serious health issues that might go along with the consumption. Like the fact that most people take cream and sugar in their coffee. Many people in Canada love their double/doubles (2 creams and 2 sugars). This study suggests that drinking two cups of coffee a day has positive health effects, but for those that like cream and sugar in their coffee, this means drinking in addition to the coffee, one will consume 4 servings of high fat cream and 4 teaspoons of suger. The high fat in cream and excessive calories of the sugar are sure to be more harmful to your health then whatever positive effects the coffee may have on your health. Those that feel more is better will consume more high fat cream and high calorie sugars which will exponentially have a negative effect on their health, in addition to ignoring disclaimers by the study that too much coffee could have a detrimental effect.

Finally, there are those people who consider themselves well learned and so propose that its the caffine in coffee that is beneficial, so drinking a couple cups of cola should also be beneficial, or popping a couple of caffine pills or those high-caf beverages. The study mentions that drinking 2 cups of coffee or tea a day is beneficial, but the Slashdot article only says that Caffeine prevents liver disease, a discrepancy in the facts presented.

In any case, one should never blindly use these articles as an excuse to continue or start a bad habit. There are MANY healthy ways to prevent Liver Disease, drinking two cups of coffee a days to cure a hangover after consuming an excess of alcohol the previous night probably won't have a positive effect on your liver.

Sweet! (1)

cafn8ed (264155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187468)

(see username)

Correlation != Causality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187552)

They're a bit light on numbers in the article. If only 3 people had liver damage, and only one was a big coffee drinker, how does that show anything meaningful?

Coffee substitutes for alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14187575)

A person who drinks more coffee will tend to drink less alcohol. Less alcohol consumption helps maintain a healthy liver.

What's in the drink? (2, Interesting)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14187584)

The article doesn't actually back up that it's caffeine that prevents liver disease. It simply shows that *coffee or tea* prevent it. I wonder what other common substances (besides water) they have in them that could alternatively be providing the benefits.

I think a good follow-on study might be to try caffeine pills vs placebos - although since we're talking about preventing disease rather than curing it, that study could take a generation or more.
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