Monday, 22 April 2013

People with Parkinson’s May Benefit from Coffee

In the latest medical discovery, a new study has found the significant role played by coffee in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Based on the new research, regular intake of coffee benefited those who have the disease by way of helping control their movement. This is considered one of the first studies in humans suggesting that caffeine can help in the movement of people diagnosed with the illness.

The research findings were published in the online journal of Neurology published by theAmerican Academy ofNeurology. Lead author Dr. Ronald Postuma said they found that those who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

A total of 61 people were involved in the study. They were all displaying symptomsof Parkinson’s disease such as sleepiness during the day. The researchers then divided them into two groups with one given only a placebo while the other group was given the pill containing 100 milligrams of caffeine which they took twice a day. After the first three weeks, their dosage was increased to 200 milligrams twice a day for another three weeks. The caffeine consumed was equivalent to about two to four cups of coffee per day.

Among those who were given caffeine, the researchers found a five -point average improvement in the severity of their condition. Additionally, they displayed a three-point improvement in their motor symptoms such as the speed of their movement and body stiffness compared to those who were only given the placebo.

In the area of daytime sleepiness, depression and quality of life, there was not much positive improvement owing to the short duration of the study.

The experts expressed enthusiasm on these findings considering the fact that coffee can become a cheap alternative to helping control body movement which is a major symptom of Parkinson’s disease. They suggested that caffeine can be explored as a treatment option and can even be used as a supplement to the regular medications.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Wanna Espresso con Panna?

Need a serious caffeine boost but craving for something sweet at the same time? I suggest you try an espresso con panna.

Espresso con panna, or espresso with cream, will give you the caffeine boost that only espresso can give in one small satisfying shot and at the same time tickle your taste buds with the hot and cold medley from the contrast between the cream on top and the coffee at the bottom.

If you plan on getting a good espressocon panna, like the one in the photo up there (which coffee-addict Noemi Ruthswore the me it definitely is), make sure you don’t go for watered-down versions that some coffee shops serve. Stay away from their espresso con panna if you see the barista taking out his canned whipped cream, which might be less fattening than old-fashioned hand-whipped heavy cream, but won’t give you the same satisfying creamy goodness of a properly whipped cold cream.

You can also make espresso con panna at home quite easily. All you need to do is to whip up some cold heavy cream and add your whipped cream on top of a freshly brewed single or double shot of espresso (a 3oz shot should be enough to start your day right). You can add a tablespoon of sugar or a drop of vanilla extract on the cold cream before you whip it up, depending on sweet you want your whipped cream to be. It’s also a good idea to make more than you need for a couple of espresso shots and just store the rest in your fridge for your next espresso con panna.

Photo via NoemiRuth

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Could Coffee Protect Against Liver Disease in Alcohol Drinkers?

For guys who drink alcohol, heavy coffee consumption may protect against liver damage, according to a new study from Finland.

"Our findings suggest a possible protective effect for coffee intake in alcohol consumers," said study researcher Dr. Onni Niemelä, of Seinäjoki Central Hospital and the University of Tampere in Finland.

The researchers asked nearly 19,000 Finnish men and womenbetween ages 25 and 74 about their coffee and alcohol consumption. They also measured participants' blood levels of the liver enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT).

Drinking alcohol raises levels of GGT in the blood. Over time, drinking can also lead to alcoholic liver disease. People with liver disease show higher levels of GGT in their blood. Men in the study who consumed more than 24 alcoholic drinks per week, or about 3.5 drinks daily, had the highest levels of the liver enzyme — about three times higher than men who did not drink alcohol.

But among the men who were heavy drinkers, those who also consumed five or more cups of coffee daily showed a 50 percent reduction in GGT compared with men who drank no coffee.
The researchers found no significant association between coffee consumption and GGT levels in female drinkers.

"The findings are thought-provoking, though it is impossible to derive meaning from them," said Dr. David Bernstein, chief of the division of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, who was not involved in the new study.

In addition to drinking alcohol, smoking, older age and being overweight can also raise GGT levels. While there were no differences in these variables among heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers, former drinkers and nondrinkers in the study, the researchers cannot say for sure whether some interaction between alcohol and one of these factors affected the results. And participants may not have estimated accurately the amount of coffee and alcohol they drink.

The researchers found that the way that coffee was prepared — whether it was filtered, boiled or served as espresso, for example — did not seem to make a difference in the findings.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee may decrease GGT levels, and that caffeine may play a role in this.

It remains unclear whether elevated levels of the liver enzyme correlate with symptoms of liver disease. "If I go out and have a six-pack tonight, my levels will be up, but it doesn't mean I have liver disease," Bernstein said.

People should not think that drinking more coffee will cancel out the effects of heavy drinking, he said. "We know nothing about whether decreasing levels of the liver enzyme leads to improvements in overall health, or a decreased risk of liver disease," Bernstein said.

The study was published online March 14 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.