Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tea: Better Than Water?

This hit the wires today, Tea "Healthier" Drink Than Water.

I haven't tracked down the sources yet but, for sure, that article seems to have left out a lot of information. But the study is interesting nonetheless. Man, if you tried to believe every story you saw in the headlines you sure would be confused, eh? This latest heart attack debacle is one of the best arguments I've seen for getting proactive about your own health education.

Here's a link to my coffee article, along with the entire 911 series, so far.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Coffee, Heart Attacks, and Dumb Writers

Remember that game you played as a kid, where one person whispered a secret to another, who passed whispered it to another, and so on, and then at the end you compared the original secret to see how much it had changed? This always baffled me at the time because I couldn't see how people could mess up a message the usually began very straightforward and simple. Well, I'm an adult now and it's baffling me just the same. Case in point, this article:

Coffee Might Trigger A Heart Attack

I'm a little ahead of myself with this post because I have an article addressing coffee and the numerous studies that have been done on it coming out this week. If you're not on the Beachbody mailing list, I suggest you give 'em your email and get on it because you won't get to read this if you don't. At any rate, the above study is referenced and analyzed.

However, this study was done a while back and, over time, the articles that have following have increased more and more in their alarmist tone. The study hasn't changed, mind you, nor the results or possible consequences. Just the articles.

In the above piece, there's a bit of rather need to know information that's left out--that the study found a gene variation that is quite rare accountable for these mild heart attacks. In the study's abstract, it clearly states that those without this gene variation are at no risk. But, I guess, since "gene variation" doesn't sound very alarming/sexy it's been replaced by those with "risk factors" which is left undefined. That switcharoo was done further back, in articles I'm citing in my upcoming piece. In this one, authored by Leslie Sabbagh, a "Daily Health Reporter", it's trickled down to "an occasional cup of coffee might trigger first heart attacks in some people, a new study suggests." No gene variation, no nonfatal, no addressing the fact that the researchers themselves were puzzled at the fact that those drinking more coffee with the same gene variation didn't seem at risk and, therefore, stated their own findings far from conclusive or that none of the major medical organizations are sold on the study--just a nice catchy red alert title to get some attention.

Anyway, when you see a headline that states "Coffee Kills", please do a bit of your own research first.

* Two facts from my upcoming piece. More than 19,000 studies have been done on coffee over the last few decades. A recent study spanning two decades and more than 120,000 subjects has recently concluded that there is no risk of heart disease that can be linked to coffee. This study was conducted by The Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health and the Channing Laboratory and Division of Preventive Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Few Words About Doping

If you're a cycling fanatic, like me, your world has been turned upside down by the recent allegations. Doping is always around the sport and an almost everpresent topic of conversation in the cycling world but, still, you don't see years like this too often. Ever, really. So I've been waiting to post something in depth on doping but I want to see Landis' B sample first. Then I'll comment.

But it's funny (ironic funny) that the word on the street about Robert Heras' positive test after winning the Vuelta de Espana last year was that he didn't go deep enough on one stage to meet his doctors projections prior to the race and, hence, was given too much EPO after a stage. Landis only generated around 260 watts on his final bonked state climb in stage 16, as opposed to the 400 he would generally generate and, therefore, without 400 watt breakdown projected his daily testes patch may have given him a little too much juice.

I just heard 100 meter runner Justin Gatlin was busted as well. Another word on the street is that track athletes are releived that cycling has been taking away much of the heat they've been under as world's dirtiest athletes. But, really, this is an obvious battle because these athletes--unlike skill sports--rely on their pure physical prowess more than any other. The finer they tune the engine the better chance they have to win and no technique is going to make up for it. So it's easier to catch them doping than, say, basketball or baseball players where most accusation is often based on conjecture about improved performance or via scuttlebutt from bitter ex-players like Jose Canseco.