Friday, April 15, 2011

Go ahead--get your heart started


My Dad had a stroke at a young age and since he was a runner, this really hit him hard. I am not a runner, but I don’t want a stroke.

Turns out—according to one large Swedish study anyhow—drinking coffee reduces stroke risk in women by a fourth. I always believe the studies I want to believe (don’t we all), and I can tell ya, it’s working so far.

I love coffee. If coffee were as bad as say, crack, I probably would still drink it. Scientists used to think coffee made your heart go faster or stressed it, so it was bad. One study said that, the next one said the opposite. You know—study “ping pong.”

Now they are waiting a hot second. Harvard did a big look-see in 1990 and found no effect of coffee on men’s risk of heart attack or stroke.

OK—no effect. Slurp, slurp.

Now in 2008 (Finland) among male smokers, a lower risk of stroke from eight cups of java a day. Then maybe nonsmokers also got a benefit. A benefit even! Not just the absence of harm.

And it was a lot of coffee—five cups, six cups, eight a day!

Still, the scientists are loath to conclude that coffee isn’t hurting you—after all, it’s so good, you feel so good, you are more effective and brilliant, how would it be OK?

Ah, it’s a bitter brew being a scientist.

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