Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Science

NIH Study Finds That Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Death 234

Posted by timothy
from the but-only-in-a-given-time-period dept.
parallel_prankster writes "Older adults who drank coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — had a lower risk of death [full paper is paywalled, at the New England Journal of Medicine] overall than others who did not drink coffee, according to a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP. Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer. These results from a large study of older adults were observed after adjustment for the effects of other risk factors on mortality, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. They also found that the association between coffee and reduction in risk of death increased with the amount of coffee consumed. Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death. Researchers caution, however, that they can't be sure whether these associations mean that drinking coffee actually makes people live longer."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NIH Study Finds That Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Death

Comments Filter:
  • by sokoban (142301) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:53PM (#40029521) Homepage

    ... was roughly one in one. Guess I was wrong.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:55PM (#40029559)
      The risk of death must be lower than the risk of taxes, though, because I pay taxes every year and I haven't died even once.
    • I intend to live forever. So far so good. --Stephen Wright

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:23PM (#40029991) Homepage Journal

      Oh, Jesus H. Christ. This comment comes up on every story dealing with mortality risk, and it's getting kind of old. Look, the hazard rate function [wikipedia.org] is not that hard to understand. Educate yourself instead of making the same worn-out joke over and over again, okay?

      • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:31PM (#40030107)

        Alright Sheldon Cooper, we all get it. And you move your bowls at 8:20.

      • by ArcherB (796902)

        Oh, Jesus H. Christ. This comment comes up on every story dealing with mortality risk, and it's getting kind of old. Look, the hazard rate function [wikipedia.org] is not that hard to understand. Educate yourself instead of making the same worn-out joke over and over again, okay?

        Funny you should mention Jesus Christ. I wonder how much coffee that guy drank!

        *offtopic*
        According to the link in your sig, the government is shrinking. Wonder were that extra $1.5 trillion is going.
        */offtopic*

      • by starfishsystems (834319) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @03:20PM (#40031863) Homepage
        The reason why these jokes keep coming up is because "risk of death" is a ridiculous phrase if not explicitly qualified. So, for slightly different reasons, is "mortality risk."

        If you want the canonical term that's used in a statistical or medical context, just say "mortality". We'll all understand perfectly what you mean, and there will be no snickering. You don't say "mortality risk" because that would be redundant. It makes you look like you don't know what you're talking about. (Of course, if you want to create that impression, you're on the right track.)

        Another conventional term is "death rate". Both "mortality" and "death rate" refer to the relative frequency of deaths in a given population under given conditions.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      "... less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer."

      Fuck that. I'd rather have a heart attack than cancer.

      • by Aryden (1872756)
        They also produced a study last year that indicated that males who drink 2-3 cups of coffee daily had a lower chance of fatal colon cancer than non-coffee drinkers. I guess that it has something to do with the fact that we coffee drinkers tend to shit on a regular basis....
    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Damn you, Mr. QuickFingers!

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      ... was roughly one in one. Guess I was wrong.

      No... The probability of death may be roughly one in one, but that's because such wording provides a context whereby there is no time constraint unless one is stated.

      "Risk of death" on the other hand implies a context where time is not a constraint but a factor. Lower risk implies it is less likely to happen sooner.

      Maybe that's just my professional background that leads me to think of the distinction, rather than a general truth, though it's also standard in personal health analysis and reporting so the co

  • Headline (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:57PM (#40029577)

    NIH Study Finds That Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Death.

    In other news, death is avoidable.

    • by dbet (1607261)
      Death is avoidable. Some people are going to die today. Some are going to almost die, but successfully avoid it.
  • by PPH (736903)
    ... that studies data, it looks as if I'm never going to die.
    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      ... that studies data, it looks as if I'm never going to die.

      No no, you have a lower chance of dying.

      • by Creepy (93888)

        You mean a lower chance of dying before someone that does not drink coffee; you still have 100% chance of dying until immortality drugs are created, but even then you may still die in a traffic accident or from my brother-in-law's farts, which I'm fairly certain is the most toxic gas on the planet.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Hmm, I only drink around 12 cups per day so I'll have to improve that.

  • He stayed up late working on his experiments, then got up early to teach the 8 o'clock class.
    He was very jittery.
    I can't see how this is "good" for you and reduces risk of death.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:11PM (#40029807) Journal

      I can't see how this is "good" for you and reduces risk of death.

      And yet, the data says it is. This is why we do science, because not everything is obvious, and sometimes tests come back with unexpected results. That's how we learn things.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Except science is based upon MULTIPLE studies that can be replicated (with same results), not just one. I am questioning the validity of this ONE study and doubt other studies will sustain it.

      • As someone who regularly tries to do science, I have to ask... "Results"? "Data"?
      • by Hentes (2461350)

        No, the data says that it reduces the risk of certain causes of death. They didn't measure whether it has an effect on expected lifetime. A shot in the head would make all those risks zero, but it's not something that will make you live longer.

    • Flushing out your system with water does remove toxins in the blood. Caffeine is diuretic, so your kidneys are working harder. Though you have to be careful not to flush out too many electrolytes. I'm willing to bet that if tea was as diuretic, it would be just as healthy too if not more so.

      • by Aryden (1872756)
        Caffeine is a diuretic, thus, tea with caffeine would also work.
        • by Belial6 (794905)
          The summary says that the effects are also there for decaf coffee. While I know that decaf coffee still has some caffeine, it is in small enough less that they would have seen some difference between the decaf and the caffeinated. Thus, this study would not point to caffeine as the beneficial active ingredient.

          Also, it states that coffee drinkers showed a lower rate of death due to accident and injury. This SCREAMS correlation.
      • Both coffee and tea (particularly green tea) contain antioxidants that have been shown in hundreds of studies to be beneficial. AFAIK tea is probably the superior beverage from a health standpoint.
    • Coffee got me through my undergraduate years. I worked nights (11:00 pm to 7:00 am), went to classes until early afternoon and then slept until time to get up for work. Probably drank 10 to 15 cups of coffee a day. The worst was the day I noticed my desk shaking and it was my own left arm twitching.

      Still drink abot six cups a day of the "real stuff" (not decaf). Love the taste of coffee. I'll even drink decaf in the evening just so I can enjoy the taste. I got "the habit" long before college from my pa

    • Sometimes things that are harmful in one way can help in other ways.

      Taking coffee as an example, it is known that heavy coffee consumptions
      stunts breast development in women. As it happens, the same effect also
      reduces her risk of developing breast cancer.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:00PM (#40029631)
    A statement is released saying that coffee is known in the State of California to cause cancer
    • by Bucc5062 (856482)

      I'm confused...In the State of California, coffee is know to cause cancer or when in the State of California, coffee causes cancer. That is some pretty selective cancer and one state I think I'll avoid in the future....Whew!

    • I work at a lab in California. Another lab moved in down the hall. They brought their coffee maker with them, and it appeared in the break room. With a certification from Princeton that it was Carcinogen free.

      A week later, it was no longer there, and they put up a note saying "Whoever stole our coffee maker, please give it back."

      My guess is that it was a lawyer for the university, on nightly patrol for something that wasn't properly labeled as being likely to give you cancer. He saw the sign, mutt
  • Fiber (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's just all the extra fiber they get from the coffee. [scientificamerican.com]

  • by bobgap (613856) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:01PM (#40029647)
    This is probably because people with bad hearts, etc., do not drink coffee, hence only people who are healthier drink coffee when they are old. Isn't it amazing that they would have a reduced death rate. Imagine what the relative death rate would be for old people who skydive, compared to those who don't?
    • by clarkn0va (807617)
      I'd like to see the life expectancy of those who receive chemotherapy compared to those who don't. Until then, I'm going to stay away from it, just to be safe.
    • And I'm sure the researchers who conducted the study, the agencies that paid for the study, and the editors and peer reviewers who read the paper before publication never ever once thought of controlling for risk factors. You'd better contact the NEJM and NCI immediately and tell them what idiots they are to have missed something so obvious. I'm sure they'll be blown away by your critique.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:42PM (#40030317)
      Sounds kind of sensible, except...

      These results from a large study of older adults were observed after adjustment for the effects of other risk factors on mortality, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

      So your explanation would be that people growing old and sick tend to give up coffee, but keep smoking and drinking alcohol? I guess it's possible, but I it's not obvious to me why that would be.

  • Risk of Death (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djbckr (673156) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:04PM (#40029709)
    I'm not sure I understand. My risk of dying decreases with coffee? Is this the new fountain of youth?
  • they should outfit Starbucks with those neck injector stations like in the Chronicles of riddick games. save time.
  • Control for sugar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XanC (644172) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:14PM (#40029857)

    My guess is that people who don't drink coffee more likely DO drink sugary sodas.

  • by Lord Grey (463613) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:18PM (#40029911)

    Of course those of us who drink massive quantities of coffee won't die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, or infections. We'll die by lunging at the coffee machine early one morning, slipping on the wet floor, then failing to catch our jittery selves because we're busy protecting the ceramic mug our child gave us fifteen years ago.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      The report shows a lower death rate due to injury and accident as well. Unless your implying that the wet floor causing you to slip and die wasn't an accident. The report didn't say anything about homicide after all....
  • by Larry_Dillon (20347) <dillon DOT larry AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:26PM (#40030051) Homepage

    This sounds like it could be correlated to other lifestyle choices. e.g., People who have a routine or work in an office and drink coffee are safer than other occupations.

    It's really hard to control for all of the other possible factors.

    • by buglista (1967502)
      Didja not even read the fine summary? I can see your accident thing, kind of. But it's a half dozen risk factors, only cancer doesn't change.

      You would expect diabetes to be higher in sedentary occupations, because Bob knows that a lot of office workers are fat bastards.

      "Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer. "

  • It's already well known that Coffee is good for treating Asthma in a pinch, and I'd say if it can save you from an Asthma Attack then it can surely reduce the risk of respiratory death from that asthma attack. If they remove it's affects on Asthmatics from the study will the benefit remain.
  • The NCI Office of Media Relations apparently were a little clueless on the facts they were reporting. The study actually finds that relatively elderly people (50 to 71) who said that they drink coffee (the question was asked once, actual coffee intake was never confirmed) were less like to die within a period of about 12 years. The study is garbage. Luckily the PR department's interpretation made it sound comical. Who says that PR departments are useless?
  • I can imagine that people who spend time drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day, probably don't get outside much. If you're indoors most of the time, drinking coffee, than chances of you dieing from an accident, or getting shot is probably low. I mean, there could be many other factors involved that could explain why coffee drinkers live longer, not just because they drink coffee.
    • by Creepy (93888)

      The study was 400,000 people - that is a pretty massive sample size, and covers any amount of coffee and even decaf coffee, which contains very little caffeine. My family follows this exactly - if I use my grandparents as an example, my dad's side drank no coffee and both died of natural causes at 83 and 87. My mom's side both drank coffee (grandma decaf) and died at 94 (complications from a broken hip) and 95 (natural causes). Both of my grandpas were farmers, and had relatively sedentary housewife wives,

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:47PM (#40030405)

    I assume they mean people who actually drink real coffee, and not those that drink mocha-frappa-whatever liquid candy bars.

  • HAHAHA (Score:4, Funny)

    by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:56PM (#40030573)
    Oh man! It was so funny when those thirty people posted comments about immortality! We need that joke some more!
  • Lower than usual 100%

  • Key components (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @02:18PM (#40030885)

    The study made me think whether some other drink would work as well (or better)? Fruit juice, cocoa, tea, even plain water? What's the secret component(s)?

    As the text also notes:

    "The mechanism by which coffee protects against risk of death — if indeed the finding reflects a causal relationship — is not clear, because coffee contains more than 1,000 compounds that might potentially affect health," said Freedman.

    Coffee is known to be rich in antioxidants, so that could be one sporadic blind guess. But yeah.

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @02:25PM (#40030989)

    People who live longer have a higher risk of being coffee drinkers.

    Correlation is not causality.

  • There's probably some kind of sampling bias that they didn't think of, but anything that let's me rationalize my habit is valid to me. Hmm, I wonder if the researchers are coffee drinkers...
  • by MiniMike (234881) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @03:29PM (#40031981)

    parallel_prankster writes

    a.k.a Juan Valdez [wikipedia.org].

  • Don't drink coffee (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MM-tng (585125)

    I stopped drinking coffee a few years ago and feel a lot better. It upsets my stomach. It made me a lot more tense. I tended to sleep badly. Waking up at 5am. Headaches during the day. Generally felt misserable. It took about 6 months to kick off. Coffee is an adiction. And a pretty bad one. I can not understand these studies, probably funded by the coffee makers. Because generally if you drink coffee you will feel awful.

  • And SHAKE your way to success!!!!

I am the wandering glitch -- catch me if you can.

Working...