Time (7/26, Groden) reported on a study by the Harvard School of Public Health in “The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry” showing a decreased chance of suicide attempts among caffeine users, primarily coffee drinkers. The study reportedly followed 200,000 people for over 16 years and found suicide risk cut by 50 percent. Head researcher Michel Lucas said caffeine may act like “a mild anti-depressant.” Additionally, a “2011 study found that women who drink coffee cut their risk of depression by 15 percent compared to those who don’t.”
Forbes (7/28) contributor David DiSalvo explained the scientific link to coffee and antidepressants. “By mimicking adenosine, caffeine blocks receptors in the nervous system from receiving the signals to decrease energy expenditure. When that happens, levels of the brain’s homegrown neuro-stimulants – dopamine and glutamate – increase, and we experience the brain stimulating effects associated with drinking” coffee.
FOX News (7/26) reported on the study, saying “During the 20-year study period, 277 deaths in the cohort were linked to suicide.” The article concludes by noting that researchers found “little further benefit” in consumption above 400 mg, or 2-3 cups, per day.
The CBS News (7/27, Castillo) website listed other studied benefits of coffee, including “a 20 percent lower stroke risk” and “a 50 percent lower chance of dying from oral and pharyngeal cancers” among those who had four or more cups a day.
“The research was designed to analyze all forms of caffeine consumption, but coffee was the main source of caffeine, making up 71 percent across the three studies,” reported theSyracuse (NY) Post-Standard (7/28, Axelson), which incorporated the study into an analysis of which factors contribute to the happiest people in society.
The Daily Mail (UK) (7/27, Robertson) pointed out that the limit on the benefit is unsupported by a previous study, which observed “a maximal effect among those who drank four or more cups per day.”
The Daily Telegraph (UK) (7/27, Gray), Daily Caller (7/26, Cohen), and the New York Daily News (7/26, Settembre) also reported on the story.
— “How Coffee Could Save Your Life, “Claire Groden, TIME, July 26, 2013.