Do I need to say more [Coffee Drinkers edition]?

Nov 18 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

I shall keep the very large title pasted from the journal CIRCULATION:

Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts


I shall also keep the list of authors and the links to their articles

Ming Ding;Ambika Satija;Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju;Yang Hu1Qi Sun;Jiali Han;Esther Lopez-Garcia;Walter Willett;Rob M. van Dam;Frank B. Hu*

It is worth noting that Dr. Hu has 111 hits when you click on his link. Dr. Hu is a Professor of Nutirtion and Epidemiology at Harvard SPH. He received his PhD in 1996. That is less than 20 years ago. I know that 111 pubs is not so much in epidemiology. Not because I am an epidemiologist with over 100 pubs. But  I know epidemiologists. It used to be that all you need was one or two big papers (like the original epidemiological study of breast cancer and your career was made). Now you have to publish 100 of those papers to get your h-index up that high.

Anyway, I do not come to bury Dr. Hu, but to praise him:

From the abstract:

Background—The association between consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and risk of mortality remains inconclusive.

This is true. And a source of great gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes.

Methods and Results— blah blah blah.

So, I have extracted the important points for you from the methods and the results:

N= 74,890 women and  93,054 women and 40,557 men.

The data includes 4,690,072 person-years of follow-up.

That's 4.6 million years of follow up. I do not want to live 4.6 million years. Probably 2-3 million would be sufficient for all I want to do.

In this time 19,524 women and 12,432 men died.

One presumes these deaths were not from terrorist attacks but from various natural causes. Since the study was based in America, and Indigenous Peoples are a very small part of US population (one source: listed as American Indian/Alaska Native are 0.9% of the US population, or in combination with other races, 1.7%; the US Census lists AI/NA as 1.6%), one can assume that most of these 200K+ people had some immigrant ancestry, and someone at some time decided that it was OK to let them into the country despite what was perceived as their inferior "stock" at that point. Just saying. Most of us can trace our roots back to somewhere else, and ultimately, we're all from Africa anyway and ape-ish ancestors (~10^6-7 years) at that. Just a bit of perspective.

Now on to the important stuff:

Consumption of total, caffeinated, and decaffeinated coffee were non-linearly associated with mortality. [my bold] Compared to non-drinkers, coffee consumption one to five cups/d was associated with lower risk of mortality, while coffee consumption more than five cups/d was not associated with risk of mortality.

There's more there - about smoking and decalf vs. calf. You can read the whole thing if you like. But, to the main point:

Significant inverse associations were observed between coffee consumption and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and suicide. No significant association between coffee consumption and total cancer mortality was found.

It's good to know that coffee is neutral on cancer. But the suicide point is important.

Conclusions—Higher consumption of total coffee, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee was associated with lower risk of total mortality.

I consider this to be carte blanche to consume up to five cups of marvelous stuff. I just wonder if triple espressos count as a one or three.

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