Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Coffee good for oldsters

Researchers have found that caffeine can protect seniors from heart disease including coronary vascular disease and heart attacks. Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College did the study and found that caffeine can protect seniors from heart disease mortality.

The researchers surveyed people of 65-years-old and older with a higher intake of caffeine than normal elderly. It found that they had a lower relative risk of heart disease compared to those who took the survey and had lower caffeine intake. The protection came for the elderly who were not hypertensive. No protective effect was found in patients below the age of 65.

Dr. John Kassotis stated that the protection of heart disease in the elderly from caffeine is due to the enhancement of blood pressure from it. The higher the caffeine intake the higher the protection level.


Journal abstract follows:

Caffeinated beverage intake and the risk of heart disease mortality in the elderly: a prospective analysis

By James A Greenberg et al.

Background:Motivated by the possibility that caffeine could ameliorate the effect of postprandial hypotension on a high risk of coronary events and mortality in aging, we hypothesized that caffeinated beverage consumption decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in the elderly.

Objective: The objective of the study was to use prospective cohort study data to test whether the consumption of caffeinated beverages exhibits this protective effect.

Design: Cox regression analyses were conducted for 426 CVD deaths that occurred during an 8.8-y follow-up in the prospective first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. The analysis involved 6594 participants aged 32-86 y with no history of CVD at baseline.

Results: Participants aged ~65 years with higher caffeinated beverage intake exhibited lower relative risk of CVD and heart disease mortality than did participants with lower caffeinated beverage intake. It was a dose-response protective effect: the relative risk (95% CI) for heart disease mortality was 1.00 (referent), 0.77 (0.54, 1.10), 0.68 (0.49, 0.94), and 0.47 (0.32, 0.69) for <0.5, 0.5-2, 2-4, and ~ 4 servings/d, respectively (P for trend = 0.003). A similar protective effect was found for caffeine intake in mg/d. The protective effective was found only in participants who were not severely hypertensive. No significant protective effect was found in participants aged <65 y or in cerebrovascular disease mortality for those aged ~65.

Conclusion: Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provided protection against the risk of heart disease mortality among elderly participants in this prospective epidemiologic analysis.

A hot chocolate a day found to help bloodflow

Interesting how once-demonized foods like wine and chocolate are making a comeback. Given the considerable health and longevity benefits of being moderately overweight, will fat one day be rehabilitated too?

Hot chocolate lovers can raise their mugs in a toast to Adelaide researchers who have found that drinking cocoa daily has positive effects on blood vessel functions and could help lower blood pressure. The University of South Australia's Nutritional Physiology Research Centre has found that cocoa - rich in flavanols - relaxes blood vessels.

ATN director Peter Howe said the chemical components of cocoa were similar to those found in grape skins and seeds. "They're very similar to other polyphenols found in grapes," Professor Howe said. "Therefore we can also link that to the French theories that drinking wine is good for circulation."

The team's research focuses on purified cocoa. "We're building on studies that show the blood vessels on the peripheral part of the body react to a certain stimulus," he said. Diabetes sufferers, smokers, obese people and those with high blood pressure all have impeded blood flow.

The researchers will now begin a non-invasive study examining whether daily doses of cocoa can have a sustained impact on blood pressure over 24 hours. "It ties in with other research on polyphenols, including red wine and particularly green tea," he said. But Professor Howe said lovers of rich chocolate should not get overexcited yet as researchers were studying a refined cocoa product, rather than products on shop shelves.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.