Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tea's good for you, says new study

I am almost at a loss for words to describe this deceptive crap. The only important finding of the study is only obliquely alluded to: That both tea and coffee drinking have NO effect on your lifespan -- one way or the other. As you will see from the abstract that I have also reproduced below: "Neither coffee nor tea was associated with ... all-cause mortality". In the circumstances, it is pointless to say anything about the other holes in the study. No wonder that research in the area is plagued by contradictory conclusions when any old rubbish seems to be publishable

Regularly drinking tea and coffee can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease, one of the biggest studies of its kind suggests. Researchers found that moderate consumption of both drinks can reduce your chance of death from a heart attack by at least a fifth. At the same time, it showed that risks for other diseases such as stroke were not increased. [Only yesterday, tea increased your risk of autoimmune diseases!]

"Our results found the benefits of drinking coffee and tea occur without increasing risk of stroke or death from all causes," said Dr Yvonne van der Schouw, professor of chronic disease at the University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands.

For the research her team studied tea and coffee consumption among 37,514 people, and followed the participants for 13 years to monitor heart disease and death. They found that tea had the biggest impact on heart disease but that all but heavy consumption of coffee was also beneficial.

Those who drink between three and six cups are 45 per cent less likely to suffer coronary problems compared to people who had less than one cup daily, a study found. And drinking more than six cups was associated with a 36 per cent lower risk of heart disease.

It was good news for coffee drinkers too, with the study saying that a modest intake – two to four cups a day – may lead to a 20 per cent lower risk of heart problems.

The researchers believe that the health benefits are down to antioxidants found in both drinks which remove damaging free radicals from the body.

The team, whose research is published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association, also noted that tea and coffee drinkers have different health behaviours – with more coffee drinkers prone to smoke and have a less healthy diet.

This is the latest research into the relative health benefits of two of the world's favourite beverages. It has been claimed that they can reduce risks of some cancers, diabetes, stress and even acne. But they have also been linked to increased rates of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and high blood pressure.

Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study adds further weight to the evidence that drinking tea and coffee in moderation is not harmful for most people, and may even lower your risk of developing or dying from heart disease. “However, it’s worth remembering that leading a healthy lifestyle is the thing that really matters when it comes to keeping your heart in top condition.

“Having a cigarette with your coffee could completely cancel any benefits, while drinking lots of tea in front of the TV for hours on end without exercising is unlikely to offer your heart much protection at all.”


Tea and Coffee Consumption and Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality

By de Koning Gans, J. Margot et al.

Objective-: To examine the associations of coffee and tea consumption with risk of morbidity and mortality of stroke and coronary heart disease (CHD) and with all-cause mortality.

Methods and Results-: Coffee and tea consumption were assessed with a validated food-frequency questionnaire, and 37 514 participants were observed for 13 years for the occurrence of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A U-shaped association between coffee and CHD was found, with the lowest hazard ratio (HR [95% CI]) for 2.1 to 3.0 cups per day (0.79 [0.65 to 0.96]; Ptrend=0.01). Tea was inversely associated with CHD, with the lowest HR (95% CI) for more than 6.0 cups per day (0.64 [0.46 to 0.90]; Ptrend=0.02). No associations between tea or coffee and stroke were found (Ptrend=0.63 and Ptrend=0.32, respectively). Although not significant, coffee slightly reduced the risk for CHD mortality (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.37 to 1.11; Ptrend=0.12) for 3.1 to 6.0 cups per day. A U-shaped association between tea and CHD mortality was observed, with an HR of 0.55 (95% CI, 0.31 to 0.97; Ptrend=0.03) for 3.1 to 6.0 cups per day. Neither coffee nor tea was associated with stroke (Ptrend=0.22 and Ptrend=0.74, respectively) and all-cause mortality (Ptrend=0.33 and Ptrend=0.43, respectively).

Conclusion-: High tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk of CHD mortality. Our results suggest a slight risk reduction for CHD mortality with moderate coffee consumption and strengthen the evidence on the lower risk of CHD with coffee and tea consumption.


A bit of booze breeds better babies?

The usual epidemiological rubbish. Women who drink but control it are probably more likely to be middle class and hence heathier anyway -- which they pass on to their children

New evidence has emerged that pregnant women who indulge in one glass of wine a day in their first trimester may have better behaved children than those who abstain from alcohol or drink heavily. In a study of more than 2300 mothers, Perth researchers found pregnant women who drank light to moderate amounts of alcohol had babies with fewer emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The team from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research set the "moderate" consumption limit at one alcoholic drink a day. But study leader Dr Monique Robinson advised pregnant women to stick to national guidelines, which recommend expectant mothers abstain from alcohol, and to speak to their doctor.

She said that child behavior was "just one of many outcomes that might be assessed with regards to alcohol consumption during pregnancy". "While our study found light drinking during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk for the child, national guidelines recommend the safest choice is to avoid alcohol once the pregnancy is known."

The study, published in the obstetrics and gynecology journal BJOG, was based on 14 years of data. The researchers recorded the weekly drinking habits of women during the early stages of pregnancy, then monitored the behavioural and emotional patterns of their children during their early teenage years.

Almost 60 per cent of expectant mothers had not drunk during pregnancy, but 3 per cent threw back between seven and 10 drinks and 2 per cent consumed 11 alcoholic drinks each week. About 20 per cent admitted to an occasional tipple of up to one drink a week and 15 per cent had consumed two to six drinks a week.

Researchers checked on the 2370 children involved in the study every few years between the ages of two and 14 and concluded mothers who didn't drink during their first trimester had trouble getting their children to behave.

Children of light drinkers early in pregnancy had a "clinically meaningful" lower risk of becoming depressed or reacting aggressively than the children of non-drinkers. The results were determined through a standard checklist used by psychologists.

They have warned against heavy drinking during pregnancy. Researchers noted 13 per cent of children who were born to mothers who did drink heavily had aggression problems and 10 per cent had depression.

Dr Robinson said the research would help alleviate any guilt for women who had drunk alcohol before they found out they were pregnant. "Women may be drinking alcohol in small amounts prior to recognition of the pregnancy and we feel these data highlight that it is unlikely that this has harmed their unborn child's mental health," she said. "Women should not feel guilty or anxious about low-level drinking effects prior to recognition of the pregnancy. However, binge and large alcohol intake should still be avoided as this does have potential for harm."

King Edward Memorial Hospital's Women and Newborn Health Service recommends pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers follow Australian guidelines that suggest there is no "safe" level of drinking.

Women and Newborn Drug and Alcohol Service clinical midwifery consultant Sadie Geraghty said the amount of alcohol consumed, the frequency and timing of consumption are all factors in the way drinking can affect a foetus. "How does one define moderation of alcohol consumption? One standard glass of wine is 100mls - how many people fill their glass and call that a standard drink?" Ms Geraghty said. "There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy."


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