Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study was published online July 2 in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.“Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,” said lead researcher Michel Lucas, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.The authors reviewed data from three large U.S. studies and found that the risk of suicide for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day was about half that of those who drank decaffeinated coffee or very little or no coffee.Caffeine not only stimulates the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. This could explain the lower risk of depression among coffee drinkers that had been found in past epidemiological studies, the researchers reported.In the new study, researchers examined data on 43,599 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) (1988–2008), 73,820 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) (1992–2008), and 91,005 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) (1993–2007). Caffeine, coffee, and decaffeinated coffee intake was assessed every four years by questionnaires. Caffeine consumption was calculated from coffee and other sources, including tea, caffeinated soft drinks, and chocolate. However, coffee was the major caffeine source — 80 percent for NHS, 71 percent for NHS II, and 79 percent for HPFS. Among the participants in the three studies, there were 277 deaths from suicide.In spite of the findings, the authors do not recommend that depressed adults increase caffeine consumption, because most individuals adjust their caffeine intake to an optimal level for them and an increase could result in unpleasant side effects. “Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day,” the authors wrote.The researchers did not observe any major difference in risk between those who drank two to three cups of coffee per day and those who had four or more cups a day, most likely due to the small number of suicide cases in these categories. However, in a previous HSPH coffee-depression study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the investigators observed a maximal effect among those who drank four or more cups per day. One large Finnish study showed a higher risk of suicide among people drinking eight or nine cups per day. Few participants in the two HSPH studies drank such large amounts of coffee, so the studies did not address the impact of six or more cups of coffee per day.Other HSPH researchers participating in the study included senior author Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition; Walter Willett, chair, Department of Nutrition and Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition; and research associates Eilis O’Reilly and An Pan. Pan now works at the National University of Singapore.
Tyler Langdon, a 2008 Notre Dame graduate, hopes that winning a 2010 Yahoo Hollywood Movie Award will jumpstart his acting career. Langdon is currently one of 10 nominees for Yahoo’s Hollywood Discover Award, in which aspiring actors submit monologues for voters to view and vote on the Hollywood Movie Award website. “The award is for up-and-coming talent in Hollywood,” Langdon said. A resident of Dillon Hall while at Notre Dame, Langdon studied business and thought his performing career was over. “I did a lot of acting before I came to Notre Dame.” Langdon said, “I absolutely loved speech, but as fun as it was, I had to be practical, so I went to business school.” However, Langdon couldn’t shake the acting bug. After graduation, he moved to California to attend a management program through Hillstone Restaurant Group. “All the servers and cooks in the restaurant were actors and they were always talking about auditions and roles they had,” Langdon said. “Everything I had done before rushed back.” Langdon decided to pursue his dream and quit his restaurant job after two months to begin auditioning for acting roles. “It takes a very long time to make it in this industry,” he said. “Most actors you recognize have been doing this for seven or eight years.” Even though his career has not followed a traditional path, Langdon said his parents support his decision to try and make it in the acting business. “My parents always support whatever I do that makes me happy as long as it brings respect to myself and my family,” Langdon said. “They just don’t want me to compromise myself for Hollywood.” His film credits include roles in “Pushing Daisies” and “The Pacific,” according to his website. He also hosted two different shows about Thai food. Langdon eventually hopes to act on a sitcom and work in both comedic and dramatic films. “I love the comedy on ‘The Office’ and ‘30 Rock,’ with more subtle humor and good writing and natural actors,” he said. Langdon recently landed a role for an upcoming movie about a man suffering from social anxiety disorder and his relationship with a female friend who studies his disorder for her graduate work. “He’s just a really dynamic character,” Langdon said. The transition from acting on stage and for speech competitions was different and a challenge for Langdon. “The speech and debate gave me confidence, but it’s just so big,” Langdon said, “Acting teachers kept telling me to relax my face and think and play my emotions.” Langdon hopes that someday he could work with Leonardo DiCaprio, his favorite actor. “He’s a fantastic actor and has had some amazing roles,” Langdon said. While still in the restaurant business, DiCaprio came into the restaurant Langdon managed and the servers sent him out on the floor acting like a bus boy so he could see him. “I was nervous just cleaning the table next to him,” Langdon said. Online voting for the Yahoo Hollywood Movie Awards started on Oct. 5 and closes Thursday.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Los Angeles Dodgers take a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series on the road tonight against the Chicago Cubs.The game will start at 6 p.m. tonight at Wrigley Field.If you are unable to watch Game 3 or looking for some more insight on the Los Angeles Dodgers follow along below with updates from our reporters at the game.>> Information on starting pitcher and more pre-game details