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Starbucks Might Prevent Strokes

Posted Mar 16 2011 8:22am
Remember the old Folgers coffee jingle?  "The best part of wakin' up is Folgers in your cup".  I guess it's been replaced by Starbucks since I can't recall the last time I heard that phrase but see Starbucks at just about every street corner.  Well, it turns out that a cup of joe in the morning might not be such a bad idea, at least not if you're a woman.

In a study just published in Stroke , the authors followed 34,670 women without any history of heart disease or cancer for 10+years.  After taking into the account the usual suspects, eg age, alcohol, blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, etc, they concluded that daily coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of total stroke (by 22%), cerebral infarction (by 25%) & subarachnoid hemorrhage (by 23%), but not intracerebral hemorrhage, compared to those who drank a different morning beverage.

As always, please note that while these findings are statistically significant (and clinically significant, at least for me, any time you can reduce stroke risk), they are still associative in nature.  There has yet to be a demonstration of cause & effect.  On the other hand, these findings are consistent with those published in March 2009 regarding the 83,076 women in the Nurses' Health Study, so there does appear to be a trend towards benefit in women.

However, in all fairness, I should point out that a smaller study of both men & women published in November 2010  concluded that drinking coffee sporadically, rather than regularly, transiently increased one's risk of ischemic stroke.

The moral of today's story?  If you're a woman, you can drink your java at the nearest coffeehouse every day without worrying about stroke risk, but if you're a man, you might want to reconsider.  In either case, I don't think those other sugary, fatty drinks are going to do any of us any good health-wise.

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