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Showing posts from July, 2012

Today's Magic Numbers: 15 Percent and 4 Cups

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The thing that I like about the way the New York Times handles coverage of the link between coffee and good health is that (#1) it does not shy away from revealing the controversy regarding certain outcomes and (#2) it does a good job of explaining study design and the complexities of data analysis without going on too long about it.

Today's coverage of the link between coffee-drinking and colon cancer is a perfect example. Well blogger, Anadad O'Connor reports that there has been controversy with some studies previously suggesting that coffee could increase the risk of various types of cancer. Then, of course, researchers started to parse the data more aggressively teasing out "confounding" lifestyle factors like smoking for example. Smoking can certainly put a damper on the positive health effects of anything....

However, the deciding study has come from the National Cancer Institute. In this study of more than 500,000 people, the consensus was that drinking 4 cups…