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 But, I guess, since "gene variation" doesn't sound very alarming/sexy it's been replaced by those with "risk factors" which is left undefined.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.

3 comments:

Heather-Sel said...

What really annoys me about these kind of articles is the way they use only half of the information to create this media mis-information.

If you read on it says: "...the findings don't apply to the general population, only for people who are already at risk for heart attacks. Some risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and smoking. "People who don't have these risk factors don't need to limit their coffee intake," she said."

Duh...! These people were already at risk to have a heart attack, not because they drink coffee but because they have poor diets thereby producing diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. I wouldnt be surprised if having a cup of coffee under those conditions might push an already stressed heart to have a bit of a blip, but then so will having that buttered steak dinner or breakfast donuts too. It's garbage I tell you.

AreOhWhy said...

Yeah so many studies are done; but like everything else. something is not told; thereby leaving the reader to think "this is set in stone, drinking a cup of coffee will give me an extra ten years"...I dunno. I'm just thinking aloud.

I drink a doppio every morning. just because I see it as my treat to start my day at work. I drink it straight, no cream, or sugar. and its on the way to work, so its no big deal.

Lovin35! said...

I am so glad you are commenting on this. If anything is totally misinterpreted and often twisted it is those studies! Take the studies then add in the media and you have some scary information being disseminated. The coffee thing reminds me of the recently supposed "study" about Aspartame. The said it's "safe" because they SENT OUT QUESTIONAIRES and they and the Cancer Society then concocted their findings based on the questionaires! There was not even ONE lab study. But then the next day I hear Rush Limbaugh telling people to continue to drink Diet Coke because Aspartame is safe! It's insanity.
Thanks for posting these things so people can read more into what they are just be told! :)