Latest Issue of Science News


Coffee protects against alcoholic cirrhosis

A sobering cup of joe after a night of hard drinking may provide some people an unexpected benefit: protection from cirrhosis, a liver-scarring disease that's common in alcoholics.

More than 5 million people in the United States have cirrhosis, typically from heavy alcohol use. However, only about a quarter of chronic drinkers end up with the disease, leading some researchers to hypothesize that lifestyle factors have a protective effect.

To search for such factors, Arthur L. Klatsky of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, Calif., and his colleagues analyzed data recorded over more than 2 decades from 125,000 patients enrolled in the large health care plan. Between 1978 and 1985, these people had given detailed information on a variety of personal habits, including how much alcohol, coffee, and tea they drank.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.