Archive for the ‘Caffeine’ Category
Tracy Vence notes at The Scientist:
Consumption of caffeine after learning could boost memory consolidation, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience this week (January 12). A team led by investigators at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, studied the memory performance of 100 participants, half of whom received a pill containing 200 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of two regular cups of coffee—after completing a learning task. The other half were given placebo. The next day, members of the caffeine-pill group were better able to identify images that were the same, similar to, or different from those they were shown during an initial learning tasks than participants who received the placebo.
“The paper demonstrates that giving caffeine after seeing images does improve recognition of them 24 hours later, supporting the idea that it helps the brain consolidate the learning,” the University of Oxford’s Anders Sandberg told BBC News. “However, there was no straight improvement in recognition memory thanks to caffeine. Rather, the effect was a small improvement in the ability to distinguish new images that looked like [the old ones], from the real old images.”
And as National Geographic’s Only Human blog pointed out, some scientists are questioning the statistical significance of the study’s results on Twitter. One of those scientists, Jon Simons from the University of Cambridge, told The Guardian: “The claim that caffeine affects the consolidation of memories is based on quite a small effect that would really benefit from replication in a larger sample to be convincing.”
OTOH, caffeine doesn’t seem to harm memory.
The piece on some small new businesses in Redlands, CA, sound quite idyllic.
Wow. I want one of these, and I’ve already put a note in my calendar for July 14, 2014.
Steve of Kafeneio pointed out to me the health benefits of matcha, so I got a kit: bamboo spoon, sieve, bamboo whisk, whisk stand, and bowl, along with some matcha. It came yesterday—and I could have had it sooner by getting the components at Whole Foods, which also carries it, but I’m an on-line sort of guy.
Last night I had my first two cups. It tastes very good—sort of like wheat grass: a fresh, green taste. I cannot get the foam right yet, but it’s early days. And I do like it: quite refreshing and quick and easy to make (since I don’t do the whole ceremony thing).
Well worth a try. I checked out some YouTube videos on making matcha to see the whisking technique in action, but I’m still struggling.
Good to know if you like coffee—I mean, if you really like coffee.
I had an aluminum Whirly-Pop for years. It worked like a charm, but I finally decided that popcorn was an ill-advised snack for me (carb, fat, and salt) and gave it away. I didn’t even know that stainless ones were available.
And the stainless ones apparently are great at roasting your own coffee beans. Read this Cool Tool review for more info. The review was previously published, but it is new to me.
Very interesting finding, reported in the NY Times by Tara Parker-Pope:
Your morning cup of coffee may start to taste even better after a major government study found that frequent coffee drinkers have a lower risk of dying from a variety of diseases, compared with people who drink little or no coffee.
The report, published online in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, analyzed the coffee-drinking habits of more than 400,000 men and women ages 50 to 71, making it the largest-ever study of the relationship between coffee consumption and health.
Previous studies have offered conflicting results on the relative benefits or harms associated with regular coffee consumption. While coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that may temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure in some people, coffee also contains hundreds of unique compounds and antioxidants that may confer health benefits. Further confusing much of the research into coffee is the fact that many coffee drinkers are also smokers, and it has been difficult to untangle the relative health effects of coffee and cigarettes.
To learn more, researchers from the National Institutes of Health analyzed diet and health information collected from questionnaires filled out by 229,119 men and 173,141 women who were members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) between 1995 and 1996. The respondents were followed until 2008, by which point 52,000 had died.
As expected, the researchers found that the regular coffee drinkers in the group were also more likely to be smokers. They ate more red meat and fewer fruits and vegetables, exercised less and drank more alcohol – all behaviors associated with poor health.
But once the researchers controlled for those risks, the data showed that the more coffee a person consumed, the less likely he or she was to die from a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, infections and even injuries and accidents. . .
Continue reading. The Wife will be very pleased, but I gave up coffee some time back. Perhaps I should resume.
The Wife will want one of these—and her sister-in-law is who pointed it out:
This is for you. Holds 3 Ventis (almost half a gallon: it holds 61 oz, half a gallon is 64). And read how well it insulates. You could stop by Starbucks for a fill-up and have coffee for most of the morning…
I have a particular Lapsang Souchong I like a lot, but I seldom drink a complete pot of tea—I use a one-pint mug, which is plenty. With these open paper bags for tea, I in effect make my own tea bag—plus these are easier to use and to remove once the first cup is made. (I generally get at least two cups from a single bag.)
Coffee helps, according to this note by Jef Akst in The Scientist:
Researchers have known for some time that regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes: people who drink four or more cups of coffee each day have a 50 percent lower risk of the disease, with each additional cup associated with a further 7 percent drop in risk. But the cause of this bizarre connection has been a source of speculation.
Now, researchers in China have found evidence that coffee influences the misfolding of the human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), a protein implicated in causing Type 2 diabetes. According to their paper published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, certain compounds in coffee significantly inhibited the formation of toxic hIAPP amyloids, which likely explains the lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes in coffee lovers.
“These findings suggest that the beneficial effects of coffee consumption on [Type 2 diabetes] may be partly due to the ability of the major coffee components and metabolites to inhibit the toxic aggregation of hIAPP,” the authors wrote. “A beneficial effect may thus be expected for a regular coffee drinker.”
I do love Bee House Teapots. I broke one and went to Whole Foods to get another, but their stock was very low, so ordered directly from Bee House. Good that I did: they have a much greater selection of sizes, colors, glazes, designs, and so on than Whole Foods could possible carry.
The Wife is a demon coffee drinker—when she goes into the locally-owned good little coffee shop in PG, they start making her 16-oz 4-shot latte as soon as she walks through the door—and she concurs that this stuff is really good. And they don’t have it in France, she adds.
I love to try gadgets, and despite not drinking coffee much at all lately—I switched to tea—I was intrigued enough by this little French-press-esque coffeemaker to order one to try. It seems like a significant improvement on the regular cup-at-a-time Melitta method: paper filter, pour in ground coffee, pour water through, and that’s it. With this one, the coffee actually gets to brew a bit in the hot water. And, since it uses a paper filter, it should be cholesterol-neutral.
So I tried it, and the resulting brew was utterly horrid: rank, ugly, and foul. I poured it out, a little surprised at how bad it was. Then I started to get suspicious of the beans. Now that I thought about it, those were freshly roasted beans when they went into the coffee grinder 2-3 years ago before it was put away in the pantry. Could it be possible that the beans were past their expiration date?
So, still determined to try the new toy, I bought some roasted Mocha-Java beans at Whole Foods yesterday—they smelled quite wonderful and were roasted fresh 3 days ago. I just made a cup of coffee, following the detailed instructions that Sweet Maria sent with the maker. Man, it’s wonderful! Just the right acidity (low, but enough for sparkle), lovely taste and aroma.
When I went looking for my previous post on the Clever Coffee Dripper, I browsed through the posts in the “caffeine” category—not the most efficient, but I had time and wanted to browse. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and the information, including some things that I noticed only in this review—for example, that coffee seems to prevent type 2 diabetes, but once you have it, it can also screw up your blood glucose control. And coffee seems to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Interesting stuff.
UPDATE: I should note that the Clever Coffee Dripper has about a one-cup capacity. Since I have a 16-oz (2 US cups) coffee mug, I use the CCD with 1 oz ground coffee and fill it to the top of the (#4) filter, letting it steep for 4 minutes. I then drain the coffee into my cup and fill the cup with hot water, thus getting the 16 oz of coffee. The strength is just right.