A Cup of Joe Could Save Your Life

by DavalosMcCormack on June 17, 2008

Caffeine is probably the most popular drug in the world. Every day billions of people get a hit of it through a variety of delivery systems, but the most popular is coffee. Some people get more than one hit. Some even get a lot. Now there’s a study that is good news for those who can’t say no to a cuppa Joe!

The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and it says that drinking up to 6 cups of coffee a day is not associated with an increased risk of death in either men or women. In fact – and this is the best news of all – both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seem to be associated with a lower rate of death from heart disease.

Now, as always with studies like this, there are plenty of researchers rushing out to say this does not mean drinking coffee will save your life or make you live longer, and that if you don’t drink coffee this is no reason to start now. And that’s all good and true. But the best part about this news is that drinking coffee certainly does not seem to shorten your life. For which every person who holds stock in Starbucks is very grateful indeed.

Even a Little Bit of Activity Reduces Risk of Death

Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common, not just in this country, but throughout the developing world. In many ways it is a disease of affluence. People can afford to eat more so they put on weight, get fatter and all that puts them at increased risk of the disease. We see it not just in adults nowadays, but also, sad to say, increasingly in children too.

The problem with type 2 diabetes is that if left unchecked it can cause all sorts of nasty complications from blindness and kidney problems to the need to amputate limbs, even death. The good news is that with just a little effort, all that can be avoided.

Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center studied male veterans who have diabetes. They found that just being moderately physically fit can lower their risk of death. This is regardless of whether they are overweight or even obese.

The researchers say just going for a brisk 30 minute walk five days a week seems to be enough to reduce the risk of death. And the more you do, the better off you are. In fact, with regular physical activity, and a balanced diet, it may even be possible to keep the disease under control without any need for medication. Sweet news indeed.

Looking Fearful May Save Your Life!

Boy, this is a cheerful bunch of items today isn’t it? Death seems to hover over every paragraph. But this next one could at least help explain why, when you are scared, your face becomes distorted and signals to everyone around you “Help, I’m freaking out here!”

The study, by a team of neuroscientists at the University of Toronto in Canada, found that when a group of students were told to make their eyes bulge or their nostrils flare to mimic the facial expressions of fear, their ability to sense danger improved more than when they mimicked the face of disgust.

How is that useful to you or me. Well, at the very last it does help support the theory, put forward by Charles Darwin in 1872, that facial expressions of emotion are often very similar across different human cultures, suggesting it may have some kind of evolutionary benefit.

The researchers say their study shows how a fearful expression is a protective one rather than a social one because it increases the range of vision, speeds up eye movement and improves airflow through the nose.

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