Below is an exerpt from that I thought was interesting and worth passing on:

March 9, 2010 (San Francisco, California) — Good news for coffee drinkers–new observational data presented last week at EPI|PNAM 2010, the Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism 2010 Conference, suggests that multiple cups of Joe are associated with a lower risk of arrhythmias. [1]

The mechanisms are still unknown at this stage, but Klatsky said that caffeine competes with adenosine in brain, so it might also compete with adenosine in the heart. Because adenosine affects conduction and recovery of heart muscle cells after depolarization, one of those effects, particularly the shortening of the refractory period, could provoke rhythm problems. By drinking coffee, the researchers speculate that this adverse effect is attenuated.

The data are observational and need to be confirmed in other studies. Moreover, the end point includes hospitalizations for arrhythmias, an end point that is easy to document, but future studies examining rhythm disturbances should include arrhythmias not severe enough for the patient to warrant a trip to the hospital, according to the researchers.

With the possibility of coffee protecting the heart and at minimum showing no risk of harm, Klatsky said it is possible for the popular drink to be tested in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, although the kinks of that study would need to be worked out.

“It might be a little tricky to get people to give up their coffee, and for those who aren’t coffee drinkers, it might be tough to get them to start drinking four cups per day,” said Dr Arthur Klatsky (Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, CA).

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