This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Fancy a brew? You will once you've read this..

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 6 June

Turn on the kettle! Tea and coffee repeatedly made the headlines today, with a number of stories waxing lyrical about the benefits of a hot brew.

They are just as good as bottled water for keeping us hydrated, reports The Telegraph. Australian researchers from La Trobe University, Victoria, want to debunk myths which say the caffeine in tea and coffee is dehydrating, and that drinking water can help you lose weight.

Lead author Dr Tsindos said: "Thirty years ago, you didn't see a plastic water bottle anywhere – now they appear as fashion accessories.'

"We should be telling people that beverages like tea and coffee contribute to a person's fluid needs and, despite their caffeine content, do not lead to dehydration."

He added:   "Drinking large amounts of water does not alone cause weight loss. A low–calorie diet is also required. Research has also revealed that water in food eaten has a greater benefit in weight reduction than avoiding foods altogether."

Drinking three cups of coffee a day could stave off the onset of Alzheimers too, scientists at University of South Florida and the University of Miami found.

In a study of 124 people aged between 65 and 88, those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or memory loss, who had high levels of caffeine in their blood did not go on to development dementia.

Caffeine levels were found to be 51 per cent lower in those who did develop Alzheimers compared with those who did not, leading the researchers to believe that caffeine is a key in preventing MCI developing into Alzheimers.

The Daily Mail also applauded tea drinking, with a study which found that the British habit of drinking four or more cups a day lowers the risk of middle-aged related diabetes, in comparison to other European countries who drink less tea.

While drinking one to three cups of tea had no effect, four cups- the British average- lowered the risk by 20%. The European-wide study looked at 12, 403 people with type 2 diabetes and thousands of others without the disease.

The Guardian was concerned with the ethical implications of ‘three-parent babies', as Andrew Lansley and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) begin a consultation on this matter.

Scientists at Newcastle University have found a way to create and embryo with genetic material from both parents and a third person acting as a donor, which could stop mitochondrial disease being handed down from mothers to their children.

The National Catholic Bioethics Centre in the US has voiced concerns that creating babies with genetic material from three people ‘dilutes' parenthood.

Others are concerned that these types of research will set a precedent and pave the way for ‘designer babies'. They are worried about the child's right to an ‘open future', as modifying the genome to prevent mitochondrial disease could easily be extended to choose hair or eye colour.

There are also concerns over safety issues, as the paper reports that scientists currently do not fully understand the importance of the mitochondrial genome for all sorts of human characteristics,leading to fears that modification could introduce the danger of defects transmitted to future generations.


Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is a very dangerous and unbalanced article.

    Caffeine causes/exacerbates anxiety and other mental health conditions.

    See the research referenced here;
    and read the 170+ pages of comments of people trying to get off caffeine here;

    Many people feel they cannot 'get going' in the morning without caffeine; in reality they are just experiencing withdrawal from not having ingested any over the previous hours.

    A key point is the research showing anxiety sufferers can be very sensitive to caffeine; some people think 'it can't be the caffeine, I only have 1 cup a day', but for them that could be the key issue in their anxiety.

    Withdrawal is not easy (especially first 2 weeks, when anxiety actually goes up), but is possible.

    How about patients cutting all caffeine for 30 days and seeing how you feel? What's to lose?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say