Category: Amusements

I always wondered why some decaf drinkers looked addicted

published date
October 13th, 2006 by

I always wondered why some decaf drinkers looked addicted

As a non-user of caffeine I sometimes look down a bit on the crowds lining up patiently for their Starbucks fix. It might as well be a methadone clinic, I sometimes think. But what puzzles me most is the people in line who are waiting for decaf. They seem just as committed as some of the others.

Here’s a clue as to why. From MedPage Today (‘Decaffeinated’ Coffee May Be Anything But)

Caffeine-averse patients who think they’re getting a free ride by drinking decaf at Starbucks, for instance, should know that it may be laden with the stimulant, claims not withstanding.

Those who consume multiple cups of purportedly caffeine-free java should be aware that their cumulative daily consumption could easily add up to 85 mg of caffeine, the dose found in an average cup of the real stuff, the authors warned in the October issue of the Journal of Analytical Toxicity.

And here’s the key line to show I wasn’t simply imagining things:

So-called decaf coffee may also contain just enough of the psychostimulant to foster dependence in caffeine-sensitive people, the authors suggested.

Echoes of “The Non-Fat Yogurt” episode from Seinfeld?

This just in: Parents still clueless

published date
October 3rd, 2006 by

This just in: Parents still clueless

Your parents didn’t know what you were up to. You don’t know what your kids are up to. And I’ll bet your kids won’t know what their kids are up to either. From MedPage Today (Parents in the Dark About Teens’ Drinking and Drugging):

Asking parents about adolescents’ substance use and abuse is essentially a waste of time, found a researchers team…

[According to the researchers,] “investigators could save time and resources by limiting the number of questions asked of parents so that only basic information regarding substance use is obtained, or by omitting parent reports about substance use altogether, particularly for older adolescents.”

Cocaine makes a comeback

published date
October 3rd, 2006 by

Cocaine makes a comeback

Two items on the cocaine front. From the Durham Herald-Sun:

Eric Clapton is playing “Cocaine” again. The recovering drug addict and alcoholic… stopped performing the song… when he first got sober.

“I thought it might be giving the wrong message…[b]ut further investigation proved… it’s an anti-drug song…” {I wonder what he means by “investigation.” — DW}

Clapton also said he missed paying “Cocaine,” …just purely from a musical point of view.”

Meanwhile, back in New York (Maker of New ‘Cocaine’ Drink Gets Scolding From Lawmakers):

Outraged… lawmakers denounced the manufacturer of a new, highly caffeinated soft drink called Cocaine yesterday and called for a boycott of the beverage, saying it glamorized an illegal and deadly stimulant…

[Cocaine’s website] …offers recipes for cocktails like Liquid Cocaine, Cocaine Smash, Cocaine Blast and even Cocaine Snort.

The Times article goes on to talk about “condemnation” and “withering criticism” by various experts. It’s actually kind of funny to see the Times get so huffy. Meanwhile, the CEO of the drink’s maker says, “There’s a lot of irony and wordplay.” Actually, not that much.

Surprisingly, no one’s bothered to mention cocaine’s protective powers against tasers.

Worse by the day

published date
September 27th, 2006 by

Worse by the day

I’ve flown every day this week and as the blanket ban on liquids has been “eased” each day has been a little worse. Monday was ok. By then most everyone knew what to do and had adjusted. On Tuesday, the first day some liquids were allowed, most people hadn’t gotten the word and weren’t trying to bring anything on. However TSA people were barking at travelers, telling them if they didn’t take their containers out for separate screening the items would be confiscated. But they didn’t require plastic bags. Today was bad, as the screeners started examining items to see if they were 3 vs. 4 ounces. My journey through the “elite” line took what seemed like forever. What will tomorrow bring?

What does all this have to do with health care? Not much, except all that time in line took away the opportunity to write a legit post before takeoff.

“It’s good for the male organ,” my grandmother said

published date
September 20th, 2006 by

“It’s good for the male organ,” my grandmother said

My maternal grandmother (“Nana”) was an interesting and opinionated woman. She once caused a stir among the residents of my hard-to-impress freshman dorm at Wesleyan by arriving in leather pants.

Nana wasn’t shy about sharing her views about health and wellness, which were derived from a combination of the New York Times, her upbringing in New York City, conversations at the country club, and personal experience. Quite a bit of what she said was on the mark. She stayed active throughout her life, hitting a hole-in-one while in her mid-70s, and maintaining a youthful attitude. When friends of hers in their late 70s bought a new car and told her, “this one should see us out,” she was horrified and said “they are as good as dead” if that’s how they felt.

Nana was a big fan of the cranberry. She had a summer home next to a cranberry bog and made an arrangement with the bog’s owner that allowed her to pick the edges of the bog that the mechanical harvester couldn’t get to. When we were growing up she sent bags of cranberries to the extended family. I grew up eating homemade cranberry bread, cranberry muffins, and cranberry sauce.

Somewhere along the line Nana must have heard something about the research suggesting that cranberries were effective against urinary tract infections, although her interpretation had a slight twist:

“Cranberries are good for the male organ,” she used to tell my brothers and me in the presence of my grandfather. We never argued.

Nana’s not alive anymore, but she would have been excited to read the recent news on cranberries. Nana didn’t bother reading the Boston Globe, so someone might have had to point out the story, “Does Cranberry Juice Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

The queen of cranberry science, Amy Howell, an associate research scientist at Rutgers University in Chatsworth, N.J., said that overall, research suggests that eight to 10 ounces a day of cranberry juice cocktail drink, sweetened with either sugar or artificial sweetener, has been shown clinically to reduce urinary tract infections by 50 percent. For years, people thought cranberry juice might combat urinary tract infections by making urine more acidic, thus making it harder for bacteria to grow. Now, thanks to the work of Howell and others, it is known that a chemical in cranberries called proanthocyanidin blocks infections by coating E. coli, the major culprit, so that it cannot stick to cells in the bladder. “If you prevent the adhesion, the bacteria won’t multiply and cause infection,” Howell said.

Nana was also a big fan of blueberries. We used to go “berrying” with her in the woods before other houses were built nearby. I don’t remember hearing anything special about their health benefits from her, but as a blueberry lover I was heartened to read:

A similar version of proanthocyanidin is found in blueberries, said Dr. Kalpana Gupta, assistant professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine.

Who knows, maybe we’ll soon see research suggesting that cranberry juice is “good for the male organ” after all. Look out, Viagra!