Coffee and Tea Preference and Addiction

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David Letterman once stated that …”if it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” In any given society caffeinated beverages can be found just about anywhere, and they are increasingly being consumed at an alarming rate. One study indicates that in North America between 80 and 90 percent of adults and children are habitually dependent upon caffeine. Researchers have questioned the probable causes of this dependency, and if routine caffeine usage could lead to potentially harmful effects? In the study “The genetics of tea and coffee drinking and preference for source of caffeine in a large community sample of twins,” (Luciano, Kirk, Heath & Martin) researchers investigated the prospective genetic and environmental influences on tea and coffee consumption and preference. Studies have shown that long-term caffeine use is likely to increase potentially dangerous withdrawl symptoms including: Headaches, fatigue, depressed mood, irritability, and lack of motivation. Furthermore, the benefits that caffeine provides like increased energy, lucidity, and feeling of well-being are only evident in caffeine withdrawn individuals (those with 8 hours sleep), and not in those who have been pre-loaded with caffeine an hour earlier. Previous twin-study research had revealed that there was some heritability factors associated with beverage preference and consumption. Additionally, prior findings stated a potential correlation could exist between caffeine consumption and alcohol / tobacco use due to genetic markers and drug dependency. Luciano, Kirk, Heath & Martin, believed these postulates to hold some water and each wished to expand on these ideas further. It should be noted that the researchers attempted to limit the environmental factors that could interfere with the final statistics. The analysis was completed in a classic twin-study fashion, where data was polled from both parental and fraternal twins. A questionnaire was mailed to...
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