Sunday, July 28, 2013
Could coffee help prevent depression? Two cups a day 'may reduce the risk of suicide by 50%'
This is naive. Since most Americans and Europeans drink coffee, this is really a study of the minority who do not drink coffee. But who are they? Mostly people who are caffeine sensitive, probably. So the findings could equally well be held to show that sensitive people get more depressed
Drinking between two to four cups of coffee every day appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by 50 per cent, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed data from three previous US studies and found the risk of suicide amongst adults who drank several cups of caffeinated coffee on a daily basis was about half that of that compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee, very little coffee or no coffee at all.
The study, of 200,000 men and women, examined data which outlined their caffeine consumption both coffee and non-coffee sources – including tea, caffeinated soft drinks, and chocolate.
However for the majority, coffee was the main caffeine source and over the average 6 and-a-half year assessment period, there were just 277 deaths from suicide.
‘Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,' said lead researcher Michel Lucas, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.
Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by increasing production of certain 'feel good' neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.
This could explain why previous epidemiological studies have found a lower risk of depression among coffee drinkers in past, the researchers reported.
In spite of the findings, the authors do not recommend that depressed adults self-medicate by increasing their caffeine consumption as an increase could result in unpleasant side effects.
‘Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups a day or 400 mg of caffeine a day,’ the authors wrote.
The researchers didn’t observe any major difference in risk between those who drank two to three cups of coffee per day and four or more cups a day, most likely due to the small number of suicide cases in these categories.
However, in a previous HSPH coffee-depression study, the investigators observed a maximal effect among those who drank four or more cups per day.
In fact one previous large Finnish study showed a higher risk of suicide among people drinking eight or nine cups per day. Few participants in the two HSPH studies drank such large amounts of coffee so the impact of six or more cups a day of coffee was not addressed in these two studies.
Does smoking make you a bad parent? Survey finds smokers feed their children less, buy them smaller birthday presents and raid their money box to fund their habit
Not surprising. Smokers are mostly lower class
The dangers of smoking during pregnancy or near a child have been well-documented, but new research has found that that smoker parents are also less caring towards their children.
A survey has discovered that nicotine addict mothers and fathers cut back on Christmas presents for their children, buy them less clothing and even feed them less to fund their daily cigarette habit.
The poll, which examined the lifestyle behaviour of smokers, also discovered that some people stole from friends, applied for credit cards and even asked strangers on the street for money when desperate for their fix.
The research was carried out by pharmaceutical company Pfizer as part of their Don't Go Cold Turkey Campaign and asked 6,271 smokers about how they funded smoking in tougher economic times.
It revealed that while 60 per cent of smokers refused to pay more than £8 for a packet of cigarettes, one per cent - which equated to 31 people - were willing to pay an astonishing £40.
The most alarming statistics related to smoking parents however. It found that many were often more willing to reduce their child's quality of life than go without cigarettes.
A shocking 20 per cent admitted to having bought their children fewer or cheaper clothes and shoes to save money instead of quitting smoking.
A worrying 17 per cent admitted to cutting back on food and drink for their children, 35 per cent reduced the amount of treats they gave them and 20 per cent said they even cut back on Christmas and birthday presents to continue smoking.
Nearly nine per cent - which equated to 350 of those polled - had stolen money from their child's money box.
Just under 13 per cent said they had stopped taking their children to after school groups, 17 per cent admitted to having cut back on toy purchases and just under seven per cent had even refused to send their children on school trips to save money rather than quit their habit.
Almost 65 per cent of those polled admitted to feeling under financial pressure and 50 per cent said they were concerned about falling into debt but all still continued to feed their tobacco habit.
And a significant number of smokers admitted to engaging in reckless and even dishonest behaviour to fund the habit.
Nearly 1,000 people had dipped into their life savings to make sure they could afford cigarettes and 275 had even stolen from friends of family members.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:31 AM