26 February 2009

Caffeine: It's ON

I awake in time to hear her say "Hellooo, Mr. Coffee"

Every few months, seemingly, we read a news release which states the early results of a study somewhere... pinning caffeine to either good or bad human processes.

I've read several times that caffeine blocks the human body's ability to absorb calcium.

Remember that a study done on animals isn't always the same as this one on humans:

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Past studies have suggested that caffeine might offer some protection from skin cancer, and new research may explain why.

"We have found what we believe to be the mechanism by which caffeine is associated with decreased skin cancer," said lead researcher Dr. Paul Nghiem, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

For the study, Nghiem's team looked at caffeine's effect on human skin cells in a laboratory that had been exposed to ultraviolet radiation. They found that in cells damaged by UV rays, caffeine interrupted a protein called ATR-Chk1, causing the damaged cells to self-destruct.

"Caffeine has no effect on undamaged cells," Nghiem said.

ATR is essential to damaged cells that are growing rapidly, Nghiem said, and caffeine specifically targets damaged cells that can become cancerous. "Caffeine more than doubles the number of damaged cells that will die normally after a given dose of UV," he said.

"This is a biological mechanism that explains what we have been seeing for many years from the oral intake of caffeine," he added.


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