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.
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.