Posts Tagged ‘Coffee’

Science: Why I <3 Coffee?

April 18, 2011

A quick coffee post seems like a good way to start a Monday.

Yay! Another personal bad habit that I can blame on genetics that may potentially be explained by science!

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune reprinted an article by an LA Times reporter, Karen Kaplan about a press release entitled “Genetic variants associated with caffeine intake identified”.*

From the LA Times article:

A team of researchers from Harvard, the National Cancer Institute and other esteemed institutions of biological science reports that our need for caffeine is in our DNA.

As if there were any part of our lives that weren’t subject to genetics in some form or fashion.

But back to the so-called caffeine genes. There are two of them, according to a report published Tuesday in PLoS Genetics. The first is CYP1A2, which had already been known to have something to do with caffeine metabolism, and the second is AHR, which plays a role in regulating CYP1A2.

Everyone has both of these genes, of course, but we don’t all have the exact same kinds. Those in the study who had the most caffeine-seeking version of CYP1A2 drank an average of 38 milligrams more of the stuff each day than those with the most caffeine-indifferent version. People with the most caffeine-dependent version of the AHR gene consumed an average of 44 mg. more per day than their counterparts with the least caffeine-seeking version.

That works out to about the same amount of caffeine as is found in a single can of Coke or Pepsi or in a cup of tea.

Which reminds me…Need. Moar. Coffee!

The original paper has a really long, sciency name** and was e-published in PLoS Genetics on April 7th, 2011.

**Oh fine, if you really want to know: Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis Identifies Regions on 7p21 (AHR) and 15q24 (CYP1A2) As Determinants of Habitual Caffeine Consumption.

Coffee NAO.

April 15, 2011

Dear Receptionist Lady,

When I asked you if there was a coffee shop in the clinic, you told me “Yes, hon – there’s a Starbuck’s right around the corner!”, and you pointed me in the direction of the supposed Starbuck’s. You chuckled when you saw my face light up and watched me scuttle off around the corner to track down the day’s first cup of joe. I wandered around the maze of fluorescent-lit hallways, and peeked in the cracked doorways of hospital-gowned patients who had their cracks hanging out for all the world to see. I passed prescription carts and mobile electronic charting equipment. I almost knocked a cup of urine out the hands of a patient who came charging out of the laboratory bathroom. But through all of this, I saw no signs for Starbucks, smelled no delectible odor of freshly-brewed coffee.

I followed my course back to your desk, bewildered and disappointed, and asked you to clarify in which direction exactly the Starbucks was. You giggled at said “Oh no, hon, you have to leave the clinic, walk down the street to Franklin and Nicollet and there’s a Starbucks on the corner.”

Lesson time: When I asked if there was a coffee shop IN the clinic and you said “Yes”, what you really meant was “No, you have to LEAVE the clinic.”

Just thought you should know. You know, in case anyone else asks.

Also, your giggle is creepy.

That is all.


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