A couple cups of coffee a day may help keep the blues away. A large epidemiological study of 50,000 women published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that subjects who drink two or more cups of coffee on a daily basis were slightly less likely to be diagnosed with depression over a 10-year span compared to their less-caffeinated peers. Women who drank two to three cups of coffee were 15 percent less likely to be treated for the blues; those who drank four or more had a 20 percent lower risk.
Researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks have discovered a way to induce hibernation in arctic ground squirrels—by administering a substance that stimulates the brain receptors of adenosine, a molecule involved in slowing nerve cell activity. Induced hibernation could someday be used to preserve the brain functions of human stroke victims, though that’s still a ways off as the current technique only works on the arctic ground squirrels during hibernation season.
Image: Flickr/Threat to Democracy
If you like caffeine with your booze, you might soon have to revert to chugging coffee alongside your alcoholic drink of choice. The Food and Drug Administration, after drawn-out deliberation, has ruled that caffeine-and-alcohol concoctions like Joose, Core, and Four Loko violate the law, and informed the makers that they have two weeks to respond with their plans to change the products.
A typical alcoholic energy drink is 24 ounces (0.7 liters) and has a 12 percent alcohol content—compared with a 12-ounce (0.35-liter) can of beer, which normally has 4 to 5 percent—plus the caffeine equivalent of five cups of coffee. [Scientific American]
Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko says it intends to remove the caffeine, as well as guarana and taurine, to bring the drink into compliance with the FDA. United Brands, which markets Joose, says the same. Despite FDA’s decision, Phusion’s leaders maintain that the alcohol-caffeine combo is not unsafe. (These companies are probably not wild about their products’ common nickname: “blackout in a can” drinks.)
But for some public health experts, there are specific negative consequences for putting alcohol and caffeine together: