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Coffee's curious heart effects

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9:25am, September 29, 2004

Heavy coffee consumption appears to substantially increase an individual's risk of heart attack and sudden death, a Finnish study finds. Even occasional coffee drinkers are not off the hook: Those people had the highest blood pressure of any of the four groups studied, though they experienced only half the increase in serious heart events that heavy coffee drinkers endured.

In the 1980s, Pertti Happonen of the University of Kuopio and his colleagues recruited nearly 2,000 40-to-60-year-old men into a health study. After surveying diet, smoking, and other factors that influence heart risk, the scientists conducted blood and stress tests on the volunteers. Then, for 14 years, the researchers used data from a national hospital-discharge registry to tally heart attacks and related events among the study participants.

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