Tuesday, June 14, 2011

O Coffee My Coffee

This week, Fox News and The Huffington Post both posted stories about too much coffee causing auditory hallucinations. (I’ll leave it to readers to decide where of these two entities I likely saw this article.) Researchers in Australia asked participants in a study to down various levels of my favorite beverage and then made them listen to three minutes of sound on earphones. All participants were told that White Christmas would be selection they would hear. Instead, they got three minutes of white noise. The higher the level of caffeine intake, the more likely a participant in the study would say that they heard White Christmas. The notable level was apparently five cups of coffee. People who’d ingested five cups were three times as likely to state that they’d heard White Christmas as opposed to those that hadn’t. The story matched a similar report from LiveScience in 2009 that suggested people hear and see things after only three cups of coffee.

Admittedly, this isn’t the first time this year I’ve heard health news about coffee. It comes out all the time. I’ve heard recent studies that suggest coffee may inhibit certain forms of cancer. I’ve also heard it causes certain forms of cancer, so that’s a mixed review (or picking your poison). But, if you start listing all the supposed health benefits and detriments of coffee, it begins to sound like one of those prescription drug ads you see on TV.

But the idea of hallucinations was new to me.

My kids think I drink too much coffee, especially my nine-year old. Often, he will come up to me with a method he hopes will stop it.

“Dad, I bet you can’t stop drinking coffee for a single day.”

“OK. What’s the bet?”

He wags his forefinger in the air. “If you can’t go the weekend—“

“Weekend? Earlier you said a day.”

“OK. Day,” he says with a huff. “If you can’t go a day without drinking coffee, you pay me five dollars?”

“And if I can, then you pay me five dollars?”

“Uh, no. A quarter.”

“That doesn’t sound very fair.”

He hems around a little more but fails to come up with an equitable solution. Eventually, he gives up.

But what if the hallucinations are true?

It means my wife would have a medical reason for when she claims I didn’t hear her correctly.


Jennifer Shirk said...

I didn't hear that hallucination news. But nope, still won't give up my coffee--or my invisible friends. LOL

Walt Mussell said...

Jennifer, I'm not giving up my coffee either. However, if I drink enough, maybe I'll be able to convince myself there's more coffee even if there isn't any more.

Pam Asberry said...

Funny post, Walt! But I'm with you and Jennifer - hallucinations or no, I won't be giving up my coffee! :-)