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The coffee health debate

From the March 2012 issue.

Scientific and industry experts discuss the changing health stigma of coffee, and how to discern the facts from the fables.

Coffee health debateIn June last year, one research story was picked up by news sources spreading across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and the likely topic of much debate over morning cups of coffee.

The topic was the result of a small study conducted by Australia’s La Trobe University. The test saw 92 non-clinical participants asked to listen to white noise, and report each time they heard Bing Crosby’s rendition of ‘White Christmas’.

According to the university, the song was never played, although some students did report hearing it. A university press release reported that the test “indicated that the interaction of stress and caffeine had a significant effect on the reported frequency of hearing ‘White Christmas’.”

News agencies the world picked up on the press release, declaring the causal link between coffee and hallucinations, with headlines appearing everywhere from the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, the Times of India and the United States’ LA Times.

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