Entering college, I promised myself I would not get addicted to coffee. A few of my friends in high school were already hooked on caffeine, and they said that it was inevitable to happen to me too. I didn’t want to believe them, yet a year later here I am sipping Dunkin Donuts every single day on my way to class. I absolutely love coffee now, but I can’t help but wonder if it hurts us more than it is supposed to help us. I’ve heard horror stories of people having awful withdrawal symptoms, and others having a messed up sleep schedule— all because of coffee. So, is coffee really the best thing for us? Or is it damaging us more than it should?
According to Mayo Clinic, an article published by Donald Hensrud, M.D. states that while many people associate coffee with causing many health problems, Dr. Hensrud may have a counter to that. The article points out that in a recently conducted study, there was no correlation between coffee and cancer/heart disease. The article further notes that coffee may actually be beneficial to us, decreasing mortality rates and even helping those suffering from depression. The article frequently mentions a study was conducted to point to these results, however the specifics of the study was not mentioned at all. We get no sense of data, or what type of experiment was conducted. I would say this article suffers from the File Drawer Problem because it fails to publish any evidence of results of the experiment. It just states that this experiment proved something, but provided no evidence to support that statement.
An article published by medicalnewstoday also discusses similar theories with numerical data, but again gives no specific examples of studies. This article does mention something that is vital to this hypothesis: that coffee affects each person differently. There are many third variables to recognize, that may point to why coffee has health effects on a person. For example, maybe that person’s family has a history of heart disease. Or what if you’re drinking decaf coffee? Would it still have the same effect even though there is no actual caffeine in it? The article says that caffeine can have different effects for all types of people, therefore making it difficult for us to come to a conclusion regarding the correlation that coffee causes heart disease.
Both articles fail to mention the specifics of the studies they claimed to get the results from, so I would probably conduct my own experiment to see the results for myself. At this point, there is not enough evidence to convince me one way or another, due to the lack of details concerning the experiments conducted. At this point I would probably undergo my own experiment and look at the results.
If I were to conduct an experiment, it would be a randomized control experiment. I would have two groups, with one group drinking coffee and another group drinking nothing. I would also have to be concrete with what I’m trying to figure out, meaning that I would need to develop a solidified hypothesis. So, I would pinpoint it down to one disease instead. Since the article from mayoclinic said the study tested if coffee increased the chances of heart disease, we will use that to determine the hypothesis.
So, does coffee intake correlate with an increased chance of getting heart disease? The experiment would be difficult to point to an answer, because the results aren’t something you can measure in a few weeks. Similar to the experiment we discussed in class with smoking correlating to cancer, it would be difficult to get accurate data on something like that because the effects would take too long to measure.
So would this point to a false negative? Do we believe coffee does nothing, and science proves that it in fact does nothing? It’s hard to say. more research would have to go into this hypothesis; but from what I researched already, the chances of coffee having negative effects on the human body, like heart disease for example, are slim to none.
The worst that could happen is you suffer from a little insomnia. But nothing life-threatening like cancer or heart disease. So drink all the coffee you want!