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Can Coffee, Tea Lower Brain Cancer Risk?
Date:10/20/2010

low overall, while regular coffee and tea drinking patterns varied greatly from country to country. For example, while the Danish (the biggest consumers of coffee) drank on average nearly 3.5 cups per day, Italians (the lowest consumers) averaged less than a half-cup daily. Tea consumption was highest in Great Britain, and lowest in Spain.

By stacking drinking patterns against brain cancer incidence, the research team found that drinking 100 mL (or 0.4 cups) per day and above lowered the risk of gliomas by 34 percent.

The protective effect appears to be slightly stronger among men, the authors observed, and seems to apply solely to gliomas.

Dr. Jonathan Friedman, director of the Texas Brain and Spine Institute at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Bryan, described the findings as "surprising."

"However, the mechanism by which coffee is protective is completely unknown," he cautioned. "While the caffeine itself might be important, some of the other common components of coffee or tea might also be relevant, such as natural antioxidants," he noted.

"Additional studies will be required to confirm these findings," he stressed, "and to identify the basis for the correlation."

Dr. John S. Yu, director of the Brain Tumor Center of Excellence at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said the finding was "striking."

"If we had a drug for any disease that could demonstrate a risk reduction of 34 percent, that would be considered a great drug. That degree of risk reduction is very strong," he said.

"And as for the specific protective impact of caffeine, this finding follows other recent research that demonstrated that coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk for breast cancer as well," Yu noted. "But even taken together, it has not yet been established whether or not this is directly causative -- [in other words, whether] drinking caffeine directly reduces disease risk -- or whether this is a
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