Caffeine Gives Cells Boost Needed to Create New Tissues

By adding caffeine to egg cells, scientists have finally succeeded in using cloning to create human embryonic stem cells, a step toward creating replacement tissue to treat diseases.

Cloning Stem Cells with Caffeine

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, in a study led by Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov and reported in the journal Cell,  created embryonic stem cells using somatic cell nuclear transfer, which involves taking DNA from skin cells and inserting it into donated human egg cells.  The resulting stem cells thrived and could then be turned into a variety of cell and tissue types, including heart cells and pancreatic tissue.  The implications for the repair of tissue damage and treatment of disease entities, for example, repairing heart damage and overcoming the causes of diabetes, are truly astonishing.

According to the published report, caffeine was the added factor that gave the cells the boost they needed to remodel the donor DNA into embryonic cells!

Dr. Mitalipov explained that the stem cells his team created were able to convert themselves “into several different cell types, including nerve cells, liver cells and heart cells,” just like normal stem cells.

“If embryonic stem cells can be made from adults like us, that would mean we could make replacements for any type of cells we would need,” said Dieter Egli, senior research fellow at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute.

The limitation of earlier efforts involved the difficulty in removing the egg cell’s nucleus.  Incredibly, adding caffeine turned out to be an important step in solving the problem this time around.

As we have said before, caffeine is the closest thing to a panacea, offering protections from and treatments for a remarkable number of disease entities.  Opening up the possibility of cloning tissue is just the latest of these virtually miraculous health benefits.  This new development underscores the so-far neglected avenue of studying how caffeine might be modified to multiply the health benefits of the drug as it occurs in nature.

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Caffeine Boosts Driver Safety

Long-haul truck drivers who use coffee and other caffeine sources are significantly less likely to have an accident than drivers who don’t indulge in caffeine.

Caffeine Boosts Truck Driver Safety

Australian researchers looked at data on over 500 truck drivers who were recently involved in a crash, comparing them another group of over 500 truck drivers who had not had an accident within the past year.  All of these drivers were driving tractor units with one, two, or three trailers.

The researchers interviewed all the drivers, gathering information about various health and lifestyle factors, including caffeine consumption over the past month.  Their study was published online in BMJ (British Medical Journal).

After adjusting for age, driver experience, distance driven, hours of sleep, naps, night driving, and other factors, they found that drivers who consumed caffeine were almost 65 percent less likely to have been involved in a crash.

The conclusion?  According to the lead author, Lisa N. Sharwood, a research fellow at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, caffeine is obviously useful as part of a strategy to greatly reduce the occurrence of accidents on the road.

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Caffeine Buzz: Bringing Back the Bees!

A study has shown that the caffeine-laced nectar of some plants improves the learning process for bees by enhancing their memory.  As a result, the bees are more likely to keep returning to pollinate the flowers providing caffeine.

In effect, these plants use caffeine to alter the pollinating bees’ behavior, said Geraldine Wright, a honeybee brain specialist at Newcastle University in England, who, with her colleagues, reported these findings in Science this week.

Bee and Coffee Blossom

Flowers demonstrating this effect include coffee plant blossoms.  According to researchers, the nectar from these blossoms delivers about as much caffeine concentration as a cup of instant coffee.  In addition, we are now being told that the nectar of orange and grapefruit blossoms is also a source of caffeine, although in lower concentrations.  Supposedly, these researchers discovered that, as a result of caffeinated pollination, some kinds of honey contain caffeine as well.

Caffeine helps bees remember that the flower’s scent will give them what they are looking for, so the bees will seek out the caffeinated flowers, and, as a result, will transfer their pollen.

How did researchers determine that caffeine improves a bee’s memory? The scientists trained individual bees to expect a sugary drink when they smelled a certain floral scent.  Some bees received nectar-like concentrations of caffeine in their drink, while others did not.  After a day or two passed, the bees were exposed to the same scent and researchers watched to see if they extended their feeding tubes in response, a sign they were ready to sip.  Incredibly, after 24 hours, three times as many bees remembered the connection between odor and reward if the reward contained caffeine.  Researchers then tested the effect of caffeine on neurons in the bee brain and found that its action could lead to more sensitivity in neurons called “Kenyon cells” that are involved in learning and memory.

The amount of caffeine occurring in the leaves of many plants is toxic to insects, and, in fact, caffeine is used by plants to ward off predatory insects and microbes.  But the lower concentration found in nectar attracts some insects and boosts their memories by affecting certain brain cells.

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Caffeine Increases Recognition of Positive Words

A recent study finds that people recognize words associated with positive thoughts more quickly after they have consumed caffeine.

Many people do not feel “like themselves” before they enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Now this study finds that the enhanced sense of well-being that caffeine creates is reflected in our perception of words.  As reported in the journal PLoS One, caffeine increases the recognition of words associated with positive thoughts, but it does not increase the recognition of words with negative or even neutral associations.

Scientists assigned 66 subjects to one of two groups.  Half were given a 200 mg. caffeine tablet, a dose equal to about a cup and a half of filter-drip coffee.  The other half received a sugar tablet.  Thirty minutes later the volunteers were shown strings of letters and had to decide as quickly as they could if a string formed a word or was just gibberish.

The result?  Both groups of participants recognized words with positive associations much faster than either negative or neutral words.  However, the group that took caffeine recognized the positive words decidedly faster than the group that had taken the sugar pill.

So, if you are trying to say something nice to someone, your comments might be more appreciated more if your listener has had a cup of coffee before hearing them.

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Caffeinated Gum: Developed by USA as “First Strike Rations” for our Troops and Issued to Israeli Soldiers

Stay Alert Military Caffeine Energy Gum was developed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in conjunction with the Wrigley company as part of ongoing efforts to curb fatigue-related injuries and deaths.

In recent years, the United States military integrated the gum into so-called “First Strike Rations.”   The gum was issued to field units on high-intensity combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other foodstuffs designed to increase vigilance and endurance.

Stay Alert Military Caffeine Energy Gum

Prior to the gum’s introduction, soldiers who understood the value of caffeine made it a habit to chew on freeze-dried coffee to stay awake during night operations.

Now, the Israeli army is supplying aviators and special operations forces with Stay Alert Military Caffeine Energy Gum to dramatically enhance their ability to cope with fatigue on long missions, the Yediot Aharonot daily reported.

Ever since the Israelis started chewing it a year ago, the gum has been regularly issued to pilots and members of elite units tasked with missions that last more than 48 consecutive hours, according to Yediot.

A standard pack holds five cinnamon-flavoured pieces that contain 100 mg of caffeine each, an amount equivalent to a 4 oz cup of filter-drip coffee.  However, the gum’s caffeine is absorbed into the circulatory system five times faster than the caffeine in coffee.

“There are no side effects, except for the disgusting taste.  It improves the soldiers’ alertness and their cognitive performance.  The pilots are amazed to discover that it simply works,” a senior Israel Air Force officer told Yediot.

While the gum was originally developed for military applications, it has since made its way into the civilian market, and is particularly popular among athletes, clubgoers and people working graveyard shifts.

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ABC News Plays False with Caffeine

Do you assume you can rely on network television news to learn reliable information about your health?  At least when it comes to ABC News “Good Morning America,” this assumption is unfortunately unjustified!

Falsehoods and Myths about Caffeine Abound!

Caffeine and Deaths and Adverse Health Effects

The ABC News Report: According to a recent ABC News report, the FDA announced that a Monster energy drink may have been involved in five deaths and that another energy drink containing caffeine may have played a part in more than a dozen deaths and more than 3o hospitalizations over the past four years.

The TRUTH: The FDA has repeatedly stated that none of the deaths or serious adverse health consequences that irresponsible scare-mongers have attributed to caffeine had anything to do with caffeine! (See our post, “FDA Dismisses Concerns about Caffeine and Energy Drinks.”

Caffeine’s Effects when Combined with Alcohol

The ABC News Report: Another imaginary adverse effect of caffeine is also touted by ABC News.  The ABC News report states that the “current theory” is that caffeine in energy drinks offsets the sedating effect of alcohol, making your brain think that you are less drunk than you actually are.  In consequence, you might be more likely to engage in risky and criminal behavior such as drunk driving or sexual assault.  The masked intoxication may also encourage people to drink more than they would normally.

The TRUTH:  The journal Addiction recently published a definitive study by researchers at Brown University proving that combining alcohol with caffeine in no way confuses the consumer of these beverages and does not make the consumer falsely believe that he is less affected by alcohol than he actually is!  Further, these studies demonstrate that combining caffeine with alcohol does not alter the degree or quality of alcohol intoxication.  In other words, there is no reason to be charry of downing an Irish coffee (a shot of Irish whisky mixed in a cup of coffee), much less to worry about less potent beer and caffeine mixtures, such as Four Loko.  (See our post, “Ivy League Study PROVES Caffeine Combined with Alcohol is Safe.”)

Caffeine and Dehydration and Hangovers

The ABC News Report:  The ABC News report finally concludes, “One thing is for sure: excess caffeine will dehydrate you and slow your New Year’s Day hangover recovery.”

The TRUTH:  Caffeine does not alter the fluid balance of the body’s organs and therefore does not and cannot cause any dehydration!  (See our post, “Caffeine Does NOT Dehydrate!“)  Also, caffeine, alone or combined with Advil (ibuprophen), has been proven by double-blind, peer-reviewed studies at Thomas Jefferson University and other research institutions to be the best hangover remedy available!  (See our post, “Hangover Remedy: Caffeine and Ibuprophen.”)

It only makes matters worse that ABC News relies in part on quotations from physicians to build its scientismic case against caffeine.  The conclusion is inescapable:  ABC News is either deliberately lying to alarm and possibly stampede its audience, or ABC News has failed to do the minimal homework on which the network could base an accurate report.

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