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Drink Four Cups of Coffee a Day and You Could Live Longer, Study Says

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If you drink at least one cup of coffee per day, you're in the company of 54 percent of American adults who do the same. Raise your daily consumption levels any higher and you'll venture into the territory of more devoted coffee fanatics. But enjoying coffee in moderation isn't the only way to reap the beverage's health benefits. As one study suggests, having four cups of coffee a day can lower your risk of early death.

The new research, which was released by the European Society of Cardiology, includes data from nearly 20,000 participants in Spain. The volunteers entered the study at an average age of 37.7 years old and were asked about their food and coffee-drinking habits as well as their health history and lifestyle choices.

After about 10 years, the subjects were revisited. Researchers found that those who reported drinking at least four cups of coffee a day were 64 percent more likely to avoid dying early than those who barely drank coffee at all. With each additional two cups the study participants consumed per day, their risk of all-cause mortality was cut by another 22 percent.

Lead study author Adela Navarro told The Telegraph that these results are likely tied to coffee's anti-inflammatory properties. Coffee is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent a variety of ailments like heart disease and Alzheimer's. The work of such compounds is most notable in coffee drinkers over a certain age, according to the study. While participants age 45 and older lowered their risk of dying by 30 percent with each additional two cups of coffee they drank, the younger subjects showed no significant correlation.

Of course, any new study that touts the life-saving benefits of coffee must be weighed against previous research on the negative effects of caffeine addiction. That means you shouldn't automatically boost your coffee intake to four cups a day and expect to get healthier without changing other aspects of your lifestyle. But if those four cups are already a part of your routine, you can continue to chug them down relatively guilt-free.

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Medicine
New Cancer-Fighting Nanobots Can Track Down Tumors and Cut Off Their Blood Supply
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Scientists have developed a new way to cut off the blood flow to cancerous tumors, causing them to eventually shrivel up and die. As Business Insider reports, the new treatment uses a design inspired by origami to infiltrate crucial blood vessels while leaving the rest of the body unharmed.

A team of molecular chemists from Arizona State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences describe their method in the journal Nature Biotechnology. First, they constructed robots that are 1000 times smaller than a human hair from strands of DNA. These tiny devices contain enzymes called thrombin that encourage blood clotting, and they're rolled up tightly enough to keep the substance contained.

Next, researchers injected the robots into the bloodstreams of mice and small pigs sick with different types of cancer. The DNA sought the tumor in the body while leaving healthy cells alone. The robot knew when it reached the tumor and responded by unfurling and releasing the thrombin into the blood vessel that fed it. A clot started to form, eventually blocking off the tumor's blood supply and causing the cancerous tissues to die.

The treatment has been tested on dozen of animals with breast, lung, skin, and ovarian cancers. In mice, the average life expectancy doubled, and in three of the skin cancer cases tumors regressed completely.

Researchers are optimistic about the therapy's effectiveness on cancers throughout the body. There's not much variation between the blood vessels that supply tumors, whether they're in an ovary in or a prostate. So if triggering a blood clot causes one type of tumor to waste away, the same method holds promise for other cancers.

But before the scientists think too far ahead, they'll need to test the treatments on human patients. Nanobots have been an appealing cancer-fighting option to researchers for years. If effective, the machines can target cancer at the microscopic level without causing harm to healthy cells. But if something goes wrong, the bots could end up attacking the wrong tissue and leave the patient worse off. Study co-author Hao Yan believes this latest method may be the one that gets it right. He said in a statement, "I think we are much closer to real, practical medical applications of the technology."

[h/t Business Insider]

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Medicine
New Peanut Allergy Patch Could Be Coming to Pharmacies This Year
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About 6 million people in the U.S. and Europe have severe peanut allergies, including more than 2 million children. Now, French biotechnology company DBV Technologies SA has secured an FDA review for its peanut allergy patch, Bloomberg reports.

If approved, the company aims to start selling the Viaskin patch to children afflicted with peanut allergies in the second half of 2018. The FDA's decision comes in spite of the patch's disappointing study results last year, which found the product to be less effective than DBV hoped (though it did receive high marks for safety). The FDA has also granted Viaskin breakthrough-therapy and fast-track designations, which means a faster review process.

DBV's potentially life-saving product is a small disc that is placed on the arm or between the shoulder blades. It works like a vaccine, exposing the wearer's immune system to micro-doses of peanut protein to increase tolerance. It's intended to reduce the chances of having a severe allergic reaction to accidental exposure.

The patch might have competition: Aimmune Therapeutics Inc., which specializes in food allergy treatments, and the drug company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are working together to develop a cure for peanut allergies.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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