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Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Coffee is far more than simply the brew that wakes people up in the morning. Coffee shops dot the city streets around the world with specialty coffee drinks drawing lines of customers. We will share the nuances of coffee from how to select the roast that suits your palate, to secret recipes of your favorite specialty drinks. We even have some marvelous recipes using coffee as a flavoring or spice to add a very special touch. If you love coffee, you will love these secrets. affiliate

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The Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Coffee and Tea Can Reduce The Risk Of Chronic Liver Disease

Bethesda, Maryland (Dec. 1, 2005)

A study published today in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Gastroenterology found that people at high risk for liver injury may be able to reduce their risk for developing chronic liver disease significantly by drinking more than two cups of coffee or tea daily. This preventative effect was only seen in people at higher risk for liver disease due to heavy alcohol intake, being overweight or having diabetes or iron overload. This is the first study to take a prospective look at the relationship between coffee and tea consumption and chronic liver disease in the general U.S. population.

"While it is too soon to encourage patients to increase their coffee and tea intake, the findings of our study potentially offer people at high-risk for developing chronic liver disease a practical way to decrease that risk," said Constance E. Ruhl, MD, PhD, who conducted the study with colleague, James E. Everhart, MD, MPH. "In addition, we hope the findings will offer guidance to researchers who are studying liver disease progression."

Chronic liver disease is an ongoing injury to the cells of the liver, resulting in inflammation that lasts longer than six months. Its causes are numerous, including viruses, obesity, alcohol, metabolic or immunologic abnormalities, and side effects from various medications. Chronic liver diseases include cirrhosis, fibrosis and hepatitis. According to the most recent estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 28,000 people die of chronic liver disease each year and there are more than 5 million prevalent cases of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States.

Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. conducted an analysis of patients using the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) and the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study. The study population included 9,849 participants whose coffee and tea intake was evaluated and who were followed for a median of 19 years. In this analysis, coffee and tea intake was measured in cups, ranging from 0 to 16 cups per day with a median of two cups per day. Findings showed that those who consumed more than two cups of coffee or tea per day developed chronic liver disease at half the rate of those who drank less than one cup each day.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing body of evidence that coffee decreases the risk of elevated liver enzymes, cirrhosis and liver cancer. This study provides support for a protective effect of coffee on chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and extends these findings to the general U.S. population. However, the study does not provide evidence that coffee and tea protect against chronic liver disease from individual causes, such as fatty liver disease or viral hepatitis.

"In the analysis, we determined that caffeine was partly responsible for the protective effect found. We believe that investigations into the mechanism of action of caffeine for protecting the liver and its clinical application are needed," said Dr. Ruhl.

This study was supported by a contract from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease of the National Institutes of Health.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Coffee Perks Up Short-Term Memory

By Janice Billingsley
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Those morning cups of java might sharpen your memory so you can better tackle the tasks of the day, a new Austrian study suggests.

Scientists at the Innsbruck Medical University discovered that 100 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of two cups of coffee, increased activity in the part of the brain that is responsible for short-term memory, and improved performance on a test that measures memory function.

"We found modulation of a distinct brain area within the working memory network was more activated under caffeine compared to the placebo condition. This is the specific brain region which would be used for short-term memory function," said study author Dr. Florian Koppelstatter, a radiology fellow at the university.

These functions include being able to prioritize information to manage tasks efficiently, as well as plan new tasks and deal with stored information, he said. An example would be the process of looking up a number in a telephone book, and remembering it so you could dial the number.

Koppelstatter was to present the findings Wednesday at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting, in Chicago.

Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate, is the most widely used stimulant in the world, with a global, per-person average of 76 milligrams a day. Americans consume an average of 238 milligrams of caffeine daily, which is the equivalent of four-and-a-half cups of coffee. Scandinavians have the highest daily caffeine intake -- 400 milligrams daily, Koppelstatter said.

For the study, Koppelstatter and his colleagues recruited 15 males between the ages of 26 and 47. Over a two-day period that included fasting and no exposure to caffeine or nicotine, each man was given, on alternate days, 100 milligrams of caffeine dissolved in water and then just water. Twenty minutes after taking their drinks, they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and then were tested to assess their working memory skills.

The fMRI showed that caffeine increased activity in a brain region in the front lobe, where a part of the working memory network is located, and in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that controls attention. None of the men showed an increase in activity in this area of the brain when they drank the placebo.

In an accompanying test, the men were presented with a randomized sequence of capital letters, and they had to decide whether the current letter was the same as or different from the letter presented two letters before. They were asked to respond as quickly as possible by tapping response pads with their fingers.

After consuming caffeine, all the men showed a tendency toward improved reaction times on the test, compared to when they had no caffeine, Koppelstatter said.

"It doesn't mean that without caffeine you don't have activation in this part of the brain, but with caffeine you have modulation of the brain, which means there is more activation," he said.

Dr. Bruce Rubin, a neurologist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, said this study sheds new light on how caffeine works on the brain.

He added that previous research had shown caffeine improves attention, and that any improved memory function identified was assumed to be a result of better focus --"You have to be attentive to remember."

"But this study showed that caffeine had a direct effect on the networks and processing of the memory," Rubin said.

Koppelstatter said the mechanism by which the caffeine acts on the brain is largely unknown, but is related to the way the substance reacts on the small blood vessels of the brain and on the nerve cells in the brain.

While two cups of coffee might improve your memory, don't think that drinking more will turn you into an intellectual, Koppelstatter noted.

"The positive effects of caffeine don't increase in a linear way," he said, and too much caffeine can make you more anxious, counteracting the positive effects the substance can provide.

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Can Coffee Calm Colon Cancer?

Written By:GV

German researchers have found a compound in coffee that may prevent colon cancer. The highly active antioxidant called methylpyridinium is found almost exclusively in coffee products. In recent studies conducted on animals the potent antioxidant appeared to boost the activity of phase II enzymes which are believed to help prevent colon cancer.

Although scientists have long suspected that coffee might offer some cancer protection, this is the first study that has identified a specific anticancer compound in coffee. Thomas Hofman, a researcher in the study and head of the Institute for Food Chemistry at the University of Munster stated that, “No one knows exactly how much coffee is needed to have a protective effect against colon cancer … however, our studies suggest that drinking coffee may offer some protection, especially if it’s strong”.

Methylpyridinium is not present in raw coffee beans, but is instead formed during the roasting process from its chemical precursor, trigonellin. Although the compound is present in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, espresso contains about two to three times more of the anticancer compound than instant coffee.


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