The Nation's Health + [health]

Coffee: Everything causes heart attack!

The media are presently gushing about a recent study that associates caffeine intake with heart attack.

CBS News: That cup of coffee you're craving might not be such a good idea. Research in the September issue of Epidemiology suggests coffee can trigger a heart attack within an hour in some people.

Healthcare

Some reporters and their quoted sources are musing about whether it's the caffeine, cream vs. other whiteners, time of day, interaction with other risk factors, etc.

My advice: Get a grip! How many relatively benign, every day factors in life can be blamed for dire health risks?

The problem with many of these studies is that they are cross-sectional. They do not enroll participants, then "treat" with coffee (or other substance in question) vs. placebo. In other words, it is not a randomized trial, the sort of trial necessary to prove a hypothesis. That's all that can be generated by a study like this one: a hypothesis.

Perhaps there's a bit of warning for the person with uncorrected lipids and lipoproteins, has no idea that they have extensive coronary plaque because they've never had a heart scan, and have a slovenly lifestyle. Maybe that person might have exaggerated risk from a cup of coffee.

But for us, involved and intensively addressing all causes of coronary plaque to the point of stabilizing or reducing it, coffee is likely a non-issue.

For more conversation on coffee and this report, go to the www.healthcare.gov home page.