More drug experiments on soldiers

Prompted by the less-than-optimal sleep conditions often faced by soldiers, the US Army has embarked on research to develop an algorithm that optimizes a person’s caffeine consumption. The algorithm—still under super-secret, need-to-know wraps—predicts a person’s level of alertness by factoring in recent sleep and caffeine consumption. Then it spits out a schedule of times and dosages that will achieve an optimal level of alertness. Currently, US military guidelines recommend sleep-deprived individuals consume 200mg of caffeine when they wake up and an additional 200mg four hours later. The algorithm will allow guidelines to flex depending on an individual’s circumstances—potentially allowing a person to achieve similar levels of alertness with less caffeine or achieve greater alertness with less caffeine. According to the Wall Street Journal, this will soon be available to all of us in the form of an app. Then you’re gonna feel like this.

No more coffee studies for a while

Here at InsightCity we’ve tossed around the idea of including a semi-regular section called Coffee, Alcohol or Chocolate. It essentially would just cover whatever substance of those three is the latest to blame for cancer, early death, superpowers, etc. Well, we’re calling for a moratorium on the coffee studies at least, because we want this one to be the last one. A study of half a million UK citizens has found that drinking coffee is good for you, hands-down. The study looked at a wide range of coffee factors like amount consumed, sub-types (e.g. decaf, instant,) and participants’ caffeine metabolisms. Essentially, even if you’re drinking 8+ cups of coffee a day, you’re still getting the health benefits of the world’s favorite bean soup in the form of decreased mortality. Cheers.

This week, coffee bad

Every week it seems science determines coffee is alternately a health benefit and a health detriment. Well, a California judge has declared it settled. If the ruling stands, all California coffee sellers will be forced to place a cancer warning at the point of purchase. Plaintiffs in the case claimed—and apparently demonstrated—that the chemical acrylamide, produced as beans are roasted, increases the risk of cancer. Defendants lead by the likes of Starbucks claimed—and apparently failed to demonstrate—that the levels of acrylamide are not harmful, that coffee has health benefits that outweigh any potential harm, and that they can’t remove the chemical without altering the flavor. Like Shania Twain, the judge said, that don’t impress me much. The good news? If the ruling is upheld, coffee will still only cause cancer in California. Coffee-Cat meme.

Coffee fights sleepiness, immune and blood disease

Happy belated International Coffee Day to all our readers (even the ones who have their coffee celebrations on the incorrect date.) It sure was a happy week for coffee proponents—a study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that three cups of coffee a day can halve the risk of death for HIV and Hep C patients. The results were most prominent when the coffee drinkers combined it with other positive health behaviors, namely not smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and having a decent amount of physical activity… all things that generally contribute to not dying. The best part for non-caffeine fans is that you can still receive the anti-inflammatory benefits from decaf. Here are 13 other health benefits of coffee, cheers!

Cream or sugar?

The good news is if it’s going in a cup of joe you’re reducing your risk of liver cancer. And the more the better! A new study by the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh show the more coffee you drink the greater the reduction in risk of developing HCC, the most common form of primary liver cancer, which also happens to be the second leading cause of cancer death globally. So, go ahead and splurge at the coffee pot tomorrow. According to the findings, increasing coffee consumption by two cups a day was associated with a 35% reduction, and when compared to those that don’t drink coffee, five cups may halve the risk. For the decaf drinkers (by the way, what’s the point?), it’s beneficial, too. Here’s to chocolate and coffee tomorrow.

4. Make that a Trenta®

While many of us associate the shakes with too much caffeine, research has shown that higher caffeine consumption is associated with reduced motor disability from Parkinson’s disease and slowed progression of non-motor symptoms. While the cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown, studies of the brains of PD patients show the alpha-synuclein protein misfolds causing clumps called Lewy bodies which impair motor control. With this knowledge, scientists sought a way to stop the protein from misfolding. They created a “caffeine scaffold” to build eight compounds that they tested on a yeast model of Parkinson’s disease. Two caffeine-based compounds were found to bind to a-synuclein and stop the protein from forming clumps. Great news for coffee addicts and the pharmaceutical industry, which previously managed symptoms but couldn’t slow PD progression.