ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Eat Light - Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly

Coffee drinkers can take heart from a series of studies presented this week at American Heart Association conferences in San Francisco.

For example, coffee drinkers appear to have a lower risk of hospitalization for abnormal heart rhythms. And there's no indication that having a few cups every day increases the risk of atherosclerosis, the thickening of blood vessel walls that can lead to heart attacks and other problems. What's more, something in coffee other than caffeine might be responsible for a reduced risk of diabetes for women who regularly imbibe java.

Not every report at the AHA's annual conferences on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism was totally upbeat for coffee lovers. One report did find a potential link between coffee drinking and high blood pressure, but the effect was described as "modest." And, like the other studies, it came hedged with the caveat that the finding wasn't based on a controlled trial -- the gold standard for assessing risk and benefit -- but from observational studies, which don't exclude all possible factors.

The heart rhythm research looked at the rate at which 130,054 members of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program were hospitalized for heart rhythm disturbances. About 2 percent of them had hospital stays because of such abnormalities, the most common being atrial fibrillation. But the risk was 18 percent lower for those who reported drinking four or more cups of coffee a day, compared to those who didn't drink coffee, said Dr. Arthur Klatsky, a senior consultant in cardiology for the program, who led the study.

"It might be a surprise, because coffee does give some people the jitters," Klatsky said. "And I don't think we're ready to tell people they should drink coffee to prevent heart rhythm problems."

The study didn't offer any reason why coffee might reduce heart rhythm problems, Klatsky said. "It could be that coffee drinkers have better diets or exercise more. We can't say for sure that it might not be related to minor heart rhythm problems that don't require hospitalization."

The bottom line: "Coffee drinkers don't have to quit because they have heart rhythm problems," Klatsky said. "That's about as far as we can go."

Another study that has followed more than 3,000 men and women for 20 years found no association between coffee consumption and atherosclerosis for just about every demographic group -- men and women, blacks and whites, smokers and nonsmokers. Participants in the study included people whose coffee consumption ranged from none to more than four cups a day.

"Based on these data, there does not appear to be any substantial association between coffee drinking and increased or decreased odds of developing atherosclerosis or its progression over time," study leader Jared Reis, an epidemiologist with the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, said in a prepared statement.

The third study, based on a report from the long-running Women's Health Study, provided a possible explanation for a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes -- the kind that generally develops later in life -- among coffee drinkers. Researchers compared 359 post-menopausal women newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 359 women without the disease. They found that women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 56 percent lower risk of developing the condition than those who did not drink coffee.

That reduced risk appears to be due to the effects of caffeine on a protein that binds to sex hormones, said Dr. Atsushi Goto, of the University of California, Los Angeles, who presented the report. But the finding is preliminary and requires further study, Goto added.

The report linking consumption of one to three cups of coffee a day with a slightly increased risk of high blood pressure came from Dr. Liwei Chen, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, using data from six studies that included more than 172,000 participants.

"Based on our results, long-term coffee drinking might be a risk factor for hypertension, but the effect is very moderate," Chen said. "We definitely need more research and evidence to clarify our findings based on the meta-analysis of published prospective studies. Meanwhile, I think it is important for people to consider lowering their coffee drinking if they are concerned about their blood pressure."

SOURCES: Arthur Klatsky, M.D., senior consultant in cardiology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Oakland, Calif.; Liwei Chen, M.D., Ph.D, assistant professor, epidemiology, Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans; March 3-5, 2010, American Heart Association annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, San Francisco

Last Updated: March 03, 2010