Jan 15, 2009 | 23
Java is known to give some people the jitters if they drink too much of it. But can it also trigger hallucinations?
It may if you consume enough of it, say British psychologists, who report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences this week that college students they studied said they sometimes heard faux voices after chugging at least seven cups of coffee daily.
But the Durham University researchers acknowledge that their study of 219 coeds doesn’t prove that caffeine, a stimulant in coffee, actually caused them to hallucinate. For instance, the students who reported hearing voices may have had psychological disorders and been chugging cups of, in this case, instant coffee to help them cope with symptoms, write study co-authors Charles Fernyhough, a developmental psychologist, and grad student Simon Jones.
Jan 7, 2009 | 2
Raise high the coffee bean! Good news, coffee-drinkers: a new study shows your beverage of choice may lower your chances of getting oral, esophageal and pharyngeal (back-of-the-throat) cancer.
Japanese researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology this week that people they studied who drank a cup or more of Joe daily had about a 50 percent less chance than non-imbibers of developing these cancers. The scientists based their findings on 13 years of data of some 38,000 people ages 40 to 64 with no history of cancer.
According to the study, coffee drinking lowered the odds of these types of cancer even in people with high-risk behaviors (read: smoking and boozing).
"Caffeine has been suggested to suppress the progression of tumor cells," senior study author Toru Naganuma, an epidemiological researcher at Japan's Tohoku University, told ScientificAmerican.com in an email. He noted that other studies have also linked moderate coffee drinking to reduced risk of liver cancer.
Dec 10, 2008 | 13
Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, have discovered that coffee can be turned into an alternative fuel other than caffeine: biodiesel. And you can have your coffee and drink it too. No need to use the fresh stuff, old grounds are more than up to the task, according to material scientist Mano Misra and his colleagues.
Even after being subjected to the rigors of brewing, roughly 15 percent of the weight of dried coffee grounds is oil, which, much like palm and soybean oil, can be converted into biodiesel. The coffee has the added benefit of not being a food source, like palm oil and soybeans.
Nevertheless, more than 16 billion pounds of coffee are produced globally every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Misra estimates that the grounds from that haul could be used to make as much as 340 million gallons of biodiesel. For their part, the researchers turned grounds donated by Starbucks into biodiesel that had the added advantage of smelling like a fresh cup o' Joe.
Oct 23, 2008
You know the famous – some would say infamous -- studies done in the 1950s by University of Wisconsin, Madison, psychologist Harry Harlow in which he separated macaque monkeys from their mothers and put them in cages, where they were then given a choice of bonding with surrogate cloth moms or sucking milk from a baby bottle on a wire?
Turns out the monkeys chose the material mamas every time. What likely sealed the deal was that Harlow had placed a 100-watt light bulb behind each piece of cloth to warm it.
This study, together with work by John Bowlby on attachment theory, led researchers to conclude that there's a link between physical and emotional warmth. Having learned about this in college from Bowlby skeptic Jerome Kagan, I was curious about a paper published today in Science that found the following: a person holding a cup of hot coffee was more likely to view others as warmer than if he or she were holding a glass of iced java. The researchers discovered further that volunteers holding something warm were also more more likely to hand over a $1 gift certificate for ice creamto pals than claim a Snapple voucher for themselves. And if they were clutching something cold? You guessed it: they were more likely to keep the Snapple for themselves. In other words, researchers concluded, holding something warm makes you feel more generous toward others; holding something cold makes you, well, cold and selfish.
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