Thursday, June 29, 2006

In Brief: Caffeine & Persuasion, Coffee & Liver Disease

New studies show that caffeine makes people "more open to persuasion," reports the LA Times, and in other news coffee appears to protect against liver disease.

The persuasive power of caffeine
According to a study
reported by the LA Times, caffeine can make us "more open to persuasion." In the study, researchers gave two groups of people a glass of orange juice-- one group had their drinks spiked with two cups worth of caffeine, the other group got pure stuff. After drinking the juice, participants, "read a position paper that ran counter to his or her beliefs," reports the Times.

As it turns out, the people who had the caffeinated OJ, "understood and remembered the counter-arguments better and were more in agreement with those arguments." So it's not that caffeine-drinkers were "dupes." It's just that, "subjects hopped up on caffeine paid better attention to well-made arguments and thus appeared better disposed to their logic," concluded the study.

Coffee may shield us from cirrhosis
Among the list of coffee's benefits -- for example,
I recently blogged on how coffee can make your muscles work harder -- protection from liver disease may be added to the list.

According to a 22-year study of 125,000 people,
reported by WebMD, "Among more than 125,000 people studied for up to 22 years, coffee drinkers were less likely to be diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis." Researchers even figured out how much each daily cup of coffee helps. "For every daily cup of coffee that participants reported drinking, they were 22 percent less likely to have been diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis during the study," read the WebMD report.

So far, researchers aren't sure why coffee protects against liver disease, but they're pretty sure it's not the caffeine. "Tea contains caffeine, but tea consumption didn't appear to lower participants' odds of being diagnosed with any form of cirrhosis," WebMD reports.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.