What CAN’T coffee do?

The latest news from Dr. Peter Martin, head of our Institute for Coffee Studies and the Vanderbilt Division of Addiction Medicine, finds that there might be a reason Alcoholics Anonymous meetings move more java than Starbucks on a good day–coffee may acutally help alcoholics quit drinking.

“Is this behavior simply a way to bond or connect in AA meetings, analogous to the peace pipe among North American Indians, or do constituents of these natural compounds result in pharmacological actions that affect the brain?” Martin asked. “Perhaps most interesting is how do these consumatory behaviors affect the brain and what is their role in recovery?”

In his study, Martin found nearly 90 percent of AA attendees surveyed report drinking coffee. He also found that cigarette use is high among recovering alcoholics–nearly 57 percent smoke.

The findings got picked up all over the place: HealthDay News, the Web sites of many NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates, as well as Popular Science, U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post.

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