Update May 8, 2016- HBO’s John Oliver focused on this problem of TV news misrepresenting the actual conclusions of “studies”, and he singled out the coffee junk science.
March 7, 2015- By Steven E. Greer, MD
The coffee industry has been funding mounds of junk science that purport to show the health benefits of drinking coffee, when in fact, coffee is very unhealthy to heart, brain, and blood vessels because it creates mental instability, agitation, hypertension, and heart rhythm irregularities, such as PVC’s. A group from Harvard has been the most effective at getting their “research” covered by the mainstream press, and that group has been funded by American coffee lobbyists.
Today, the CBS “Morning Rounds” duo of Dr. John LaPook and Dr. Holly Phillips gave unwarranted national attention to an obscure study on the journal Heart that concluded three to four cups of coffee per day help reduce the risk of heart attack. The study was complete junk and irrelevant to an American audience for many reasons.
A) It was conducted in a Korean population, which is not representative of North American populations.
B) The controls and oversight of the study are unknown.
C) It was not a randomized controlled trial, but rather a data mining of a large registry. The numerous confounding variables were not controlled. The group used a black box opaque statistical method to supposedly control for factors, such as cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension.
D) The study used coronary CT-scans and calcium plaque scores as the surrogate for heart attack and stroke risk. However, calcium scoring has not been shown to be effective screening tools in proper trials. In fact, the profit-motive for cardiologists who own the special heart CT-scans are what is driving the junk science to support calcium scoring.
E) The coffee consumption data were based on unreliable self-reporting in questionnaires.
F) The CT-scan calcium scores were collect up to eight years after the coffee intake data were collected.
G) There is no biological plausibility to the outcome of lowered cardiac risk by ingesting coffee and caffeine. In fact, coffee increases blood pressure and dysrhythmias, which one would assume would increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
The Dynamic Duo on CBS made no mention whatsoever of any of the study’s limitations, listed above. Dr. LaPook did throw cold water on the conclusion at the end of the segment, but the vacuous Dr. Phillips enthusiastically reported the results as if the paper were a well-conducted NIH trial in a major journal.
The big question that one must ask is how did CBS know about this obscure article in the first place? Did coffee lobbyist and their public relations arms feed it to them?