COURTESY: PEXELS - There are benefits to drinking coffee.For resolute (euphemism for addicted) consumers of coffee, health news about their favorite beverage can be as confusing as, well, a venti, quad, whole milk, one-pump, whipped mocha.

Don’t ask me, ask your barista. Some studies say coffee is bad for you (it might cause cancer), while others say coffee is good for you (it might prevent cancer).

Put this bit of news in the latte category (pun intended): A new Harvard University study, published in Circulation, says people who drink coffee in moderation — three to five cups a day — may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than people who consume less or no coffee at all.

SCOTT LAFEEThe purported health benefits, which apply equally to caffeinated and decaffeinated, include a lower risk of death from neurological diseases, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and suicide.

Of course, this is coffee consumption in its semi-pure state. If you drink a lot of venti, quad, whole milk, one-pump, whipped mochas, you might need to worry at least a little about your heart and insulin resistance.

Born to run (jump, throw or swim)

In sports, there is talk of “born athletes,” which quite simply means someone’s pretty good at whatever sporty thing they do. But are they born that way?

There is no doubt that athletic prowess depends to some degree upon inherited physiological (and psychological) traits. If you have a higher ratio of fast twitch muscle fiber to slow twitch, for example, odds are you might a better sprinter than marathon runner.

New do-it-yourself genetics tests have hit the market purport to identify children’s athletic talents, based on a saliva swab or blood sample. The target audience is coaches and parents. Researchers writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine recommend they use their brain muscle and beware.

Empirical data indicating which genes or variants determine athletic ability is scarce and rudimentary. Universally accepted guidelines for how consumers should interpret this kind of genetic data do not exist.

Bottom line: If you buy a DIY genetic test to see whether your kid will be the next LeBron James or Michael Phelps, it will be an exercise in futility.

Body of knowledge

A single human sperm contains 37.5 megabytes of DNA information, which is roughly equivalent to a Barry White album.

Get me that, stat!

Each year, roughly 2 million Americans become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 23,000 of those patients die.

Number cruncher

A single large slice of Pizza Hut pepperoni pan pizza contains 286 calories, 123 from fat. It has 14 grams of total fat, or 21 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

It also contains 24 milligrams of cholesterol (8 percent), 664 milligrams of sodium (28 percent), 29 grams of total carbohydrates (10 percent), 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 11 grams of protein.


59: percentage of American adults who used at least one prescription drug over the past 30 days.

15: percentage of American adults who take more than five prescription drugs in a month.

Source: Elizabeth Kantor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Stories for the waiting room

Drug use disorder is more common than you might think. It’s a behavior in which use of a drug results in consequences like craving, withdrawal, lack of control and negative lifestyle effects. A new study says 1 in 10 American adults will experience drug use disorder at some point in their lives. Currently, reports the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, roughly 23 million adults meet the criteria for the disorder.


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