There is a lot of research going on at the moment into coffee and caffeine. There seems to be no particular reason but perhaps the increasing sales of “energy drinks” may be relevant.
The latest caffeine-related research is reported in the online edition of Neuropsychopharmacology and is entitled –
“Association of the Anxiogenic and Alerting Effects of Caffeine with ADORA2A and ADORA1 Polymorphisms and Habitual Level of Caffeine Consumption”
(This paper is on my bedside table next to an Inspector Rebus book and the new book from Chris Morphew – not)
This quite complex article is mentioned here as some newspapers and websites are likely publish some of the content of a media release on 3 June 2010 in the context of “another coffee story”. Research in this area can spark discussion in some media about the dangers and benefits of coffee, in a similar way to how people respond to reports of eating too many tomatoes that may turn you puce, for instance. Below are parts of the media release that is easiest to understand and are likely for the media to cover:
“The sensation of alertness that comes from a cup of coffee may be an illusion. A study published online …… reports that frequent coffee drinkers develop a tolerance to both the anxiety-producing effects and the stimulatory effects of caffeine.”
The core purpose of the research seems to have been to investigate a “gene variant that has been linked with caffeine-induced anxiety”.
“The authors [Peter Rogers and others] also found that the genetic predisposition to anxiety did not deter coffee drinking.”
None of this seems to relate directly to OHS but as a shift worker the consumption of coffee or other caffeine sources is a regular item of discussion (particularly as the only espresso machine on the floor is down in the IT section and no one has shown the night shift workers how to pull a long macchiato).
Shift workers do take stimulants, legal and illegal, and OHS professionals need to stay aware of the latest and potentially relevant medical research, especially research that may be picked up by the daily press and some of the tabloid media.
I was more interested in the issue of “caffeine-induced anxiety” (who’s got my favourite cup? Did you leave the spoon in the sugar…..again? Does this milk smell off to you?) as such a syndrome may be relevant to investigating OHS and HR tensions. It may also be relevant in assessing some high school student behaviours .
Knowledge is not the problem. The use of the knowledge is the problem
Update: 3 June 2010