LAB REPORT

Five coffees a day keeps your arteries clear; shape up to avoid brain rot

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 March, 2015, 6:10am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 March, 2015, 6:10am

Moderate coffee consumption can lower risk of heart disease

Having three to five cups of coffee a day is optimal for decreasing one's risk of clogged arteries and heart attacks, according to a new study by an international research team led by the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul. The researchers studied a group of 25,138 men and women - with an average age of 41 and with no signs of heart disease - who had attended a health screening examination. Compared to non-coffee drinkers, all subjects who drank coffee had lower scores in a common heart disease screening test. A U-shaped association was found: those who drank three to five cups daily had the lowest prevalence of clogged arteries. Coffee consumption has also previously been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Better midlife fitness may slow brain ageing

People with poor physical fitness in their 40s may have lower brain volumes by the time they hit 60, an indicator of accelerated brain ageing, according to new research from Boston University's School of Medicine presented at an American Heart Association meeting. The study involved 1,271 participants who had done exercise treadmill testing in the 1970s, when their average age was 41, and had follow-up brain scans and cognitive tests done when their average age was 60. It was found that poor physical fitness was linked with accelerated brain ageing. People with a lower fitness level showed smaller brain tissue volume, as well as poorer performance on a cognitive test for decision making, later in life. Promotion of midlife physical fitness may be an important step towards ensuring healthy ageing of the brain in the population, the researchers say.

A new, ultra-sensitive test for peanut allergies

Chemists at the University of Connecticut are developing a more precise and reliable peanut allergy test that could prevent hospitalisations and allow for better monitoring of individuals suffering from peanut allergies. Reactions vary among individuals and can range from rashes such as hives, redness or swelling, shortness of breath or wheezing, to death from anaphylaxis in the most severe cases. Based on initial results, the new test is many times more sensitive than current procedures and is capable of determining the potential intensity of a patient's allergic reaction through just a few drops of blood. However, the researchers say the time frame for any clinical use of the test is still years away.