Heart Disease, Half a Million Brits, and My Cat?

Nurse holding heart w magnifying glass500,000 Brits were in a recent study to find the drink that is definitely linked to lower risk of death from heart disease.

So what is this miracle drink, you ask? The better question for you to ask is, “can you believe the results”?

A research team from the National Cancer Institute used data on the ~500,000 people (ages 40 – 69) enrolled in the UK’s Biobank study. They asked a simple question: Is there a link between drinking black tea and the risk of dying young from heart disease.

The answer was yes! In fact, people who drank two or more cups of per day had up to a 13% lower risk of an early death from cardiovascular disease or stroke, compared with non-tea drinkers. Nice, right?

Even better, it didn’t matter if the participants were compared to coffee drinkers, if they added milk or sugar to their tea, what their preferred tea temperature was, and the effect of demographics, lifestyles, as well as genes that determine how fast people metabolize caffeine.

Sounds pretty definitive, right? So what’s the problem, and what has that got to do with my cat?

 

These Results Are Like My Cat

Grumpy Faced CatThis research was very well done. The science is solid and they definitely found that as black tea drinking goes up to 2 cups, death from heart disease goes down.

This means they are related, like the undeniable fact that Haley’s Comet is getting farther and farther away from the Earth. Meanwhile, at the same time my aging cat gets more and more ornery each year. They are absolutely associated, but I’m guessing that one of those things is not causing the other.

To their credit, the researchers themselves urged caution in any interpretations. They appropriately pointed out that the study is observational and cannot prove that tea drinking lowered the risk of death directly.

In other words, they are correlated but not causal. And this is one of the most common confusions you see every day in click-baity headlines about the [fill in the blank] that cures/prevents/solves [fill in the other blank].

So the next time you see those hyperventilating headlines about the one miracle food or ingredient or activity, remember that whatever they’re seeing change is also correlated to my cat.

 

 

The post Drinking Black Tea May Reduce the Risk of Early Death From Heart Disease, Says Study of Half-Million Brits appeared first on Good News Network.

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