Cof­fee packs a healthy punch

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

Since Out­liers can’t leave the house with­out our “happy morn­ing drink”— as a large mug of steam­ing whole bean medium roast is known in our house—we were cheered to dis­cover that not only can cof­fee boost our mood, but it may also cut the risk of dy­ing from some com­mon causes. Re­searchers at the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health have dis­cov­ered that cof­fee drinkers have lower rates of dy­ing from dis­or­ders such as heart and res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease, stroke, di­a­betes, in­juries, ac­ci­dents and in­fec­tion. Only can­cer rates showed no cor­re­la­tion with cof­fee con­sump­tion.

The study, which was pub­lished in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine, tracked 402,260 healthy peo­ple be­tween the ages of 50 to 71 over a pe­riod of 13 years. When the re­searchers con­trolled for tobacco use, they found that men who drank at least two cups a day low­ered their risk of dy­ing from those causes by at least 10% com­pared with those who didn’t in­dulge, and women who drank the same amount had at least a 13% lower risk. Even a sin­gle cup a day low­ered the risk by 6% for men and 5% for women.

But you don’t need to make that espresso a dou­ble: Peo­ple who en­joyed both caf­feinated and un­leaded ver­sions showed the same boost in health. Now that’s a rea­son to put on an­other pot.

Sniff­ing out a hoax

Dex­ter Haight says he’s not a pot smoker, but he seems to know some­thing about in­spir­ing para­noia.

Haight ac­knowl­edged in e-mails re­cently that he was be­hind two hoax news re­leases that pur­ported to an­nounce a new crack­down against San Diego-area phar­ma­cies that dis­pense le­gal drugs in high vol­umes, ac­cord­ing to a post at the epony­mous web­site by me­dia ob­server Jim Rome­nesko and a YouTube video ap­par­ently posted by Haight’s Fed­eral Ac­count­abil­ity Coali­tion. Be­fore the hoax was re­vealed, the Los Angeles Times and an­other me­dia out­let had posted sto­ries based on the re­leases.

The fake news re­leases claimed that U.S. At­tor­ney Laura Duffy was threat­en­ing to ini­ti­ate as­set-for­fei­ture ac­tions against store­front phar­ma­cies in three sub­urbs, which were sup­pos­edly cho­sen be­cause of their high rates of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drug abuse and high prop­erty val­ues.

“These phar­ma­cies are not only about pro­vid­ing medicine to the sick. They are part of a per­va­sive for-profit in­dus­try that fa­cil­i­tates the dis­tri­bu­tion of drugs for il­le­git­i­mate use,” the hoax e-mail said.

In an e-mail pub­lished on Rome­nesko’s site and the YouTube video, Haight says the hoax came about in re­tal­i­a­tion for Duffy’s use of for­fei­ture pro­ceed­ings against le­gal med­i­cal marijuana dis­pen­saries, which have net­ted the of­fice nearly $30 mil­lion in seized as­sets de­spite as­sur- an­ces from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion that fed­eral pow­ers would not be used for that pur­pose when med­i­cal weed is le­gal un­der state law.

“Our found­ing fathers grew hemp for pa­pers and ropes. No­body was tak­ing their prop­erty,” Haight’s e-mail ad­mit­ting to the hoax says. “To­day, if some­one threw a pot seed into my yard, they’d come and take my house. It’s crim­i­nal.”

And if such a seed does end up in Haight’s yard, who do you sup­pose will have planted it?

Twit­ter’s lat­est trick: pre­dict­ing ill­ness

Any­one who fre­quents Twit­ter has surely en­coun­tered the dreaded over­sharer. We here at Out­liers think that what you ate for din­ner or how you’re feel­ing right now are top­ics best left to chats with your friends or just left un­said. But re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Rochester in New York have found a use for at least some of those TMI tweets: pre­dict­ing the spread of dis­ease, and maybe help­ing you avoid the flu al­to­gether.

Ac­cord­ing to a blog post on New Sci­en­tist’s web­site, re­searcher Adam Sadilek and his Univer­sity of Rochester col­leagues found that by us­ing data from Twit­ter, they can pre­dict when a per­son will come down with the flu up to eight hours be­fore he or she shows any symp­toms. Re­searchers were able to pre­dict with 90% ac­cu­racy when some­one was go­ing to fall ill by an­a­lyz­ing tweets tagged with lo­ca­tion data from 630,000 users in New York.

The study looked at 4.4 mil­lion tweets over the course of one month in 2010, us­ing a ma­chine-learn­ing al­go­rithm trained to weed out tweets from healthy peo­ple as op­posed to peo­ple ac­tu­ally show­ing flu-like symp­toms. Sadilek says he be­lieves this method­ol­ogy could lead to an app that would pre­dict an on­com­ing ill­ness and help users avoid dis­ease hot spots.

So add medicine to the top­ics Twit­ter has been cred­ited with be­ing able to make pre­dic­tions about, along with the box of­fice and stock mar­ket. Now if only it could pre­dict what lottery num­bers Out­liers should play ...


“I do 100 sit-ups in the morn­ing. I do my push-ups and then I do my sit-ups.” —U.S. Se­nate can­di­date from Wis­con­sin and for­mer HHS sec­re­tary Tommy Thomp­son, in the Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel. Thomp­son, 70, who was vis­it­ing the news­pa­per’s ed­i­to­rial board, then pro­ceeded

to do 50 push-ups in one minute. Watch a video at


Feel­ing a bit un­der the weather? Twit­ter could have pre­dicted that!

Dr. Out­liers pre­scribes two cups to start ev­ery day.

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