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Study Hall: Coffee linked to longer life expectancy

For Study Hall each week, we sort through the deluge of new medical studies and wordy white papers to bring you one that deserves your attention—in plain, healthy English.


An excuse to cling to your morning (and afternoon, and evening…) latte: According to a study published May 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who drank multiple cups of coffee per day were more likely to live longer than those who didn’t.

The study: For 13 years, researchers from the National Institutes of Health tracked the health of about 400,000 men and women who were age 50–71 at the start. Participants reported their lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking coffee. More than 50,000 people died during the course of the long-term study, and researchers compared the coffee-drinking habits of these people to those who remained alive.

The results: The researcher found that coffee consumption was inversely related to death, and that people who drank more than one cup of coffee throughout the day were even more likely to live longer.

What it means: The only headache worse than the one you get from skipping your morning java is the one induced by reading coffee research. For every study that celebrates its benefits, there’s a doctor telling you to kick the habit. We say: It’s nice to have this info in your mental file folder… and moderation is never a bad idea. —Allison Becker