Drinking Lots of Coffee Won't Damage Your Arteries, According to a New Study

iStock/ozgurcoskun
iStock/ozgurcoskun

If you need a pot of coffee to make it through the day or have a reserved table at your local coffee shop and worry about what all of that caffeine might be doing to your heart, you may find encouraging news coming out of the British Heart Foundation. Researchers at the organization have found no evidence linking excessive coffee consumption—even up to 25 cups a day, though no one is recommending that—with an increased risk of stiffening arteries, which can lead to heart problems like heart disease or a heart attack.

The data was presented this week at the British Cardiovascular Society Annual Conference and based on a review of 8412 UK residents. The study examined previous research linking coffee ingestion to hardening of the arteries and compared the heart scans of people who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, between one and three cups a day, and more than three cups a day. Researchers found no increased risk of hardening arteries in the group drinking more coffee, which even held true for the small number of the participants who reported drinking up to 25 cups daily.

The study, which has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, was looking only at the link between stiffened arteries and coffee consumption. The idea that guzzling coffee is safe for your heart should not be construed to mean it’s safe overall: a 2017 analysis of over 400 studies on the detrimental effects of coffee found that drinking up to 400 mg daily, or roughly four 8-ounce cups, was tolerable for most people, but that tolerance can vary. One cup might make someone restless, while someone else might not see any adverse effects until they hit cup number four.

People with certain medical conditions, like high blood pressure, should be careful to watch their consumption. Individuals with other chronic conditions should always consult a physician before making caffeine a daily part of their routine. Like most things, it’s best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t CNBC]

Michigan Hospital’s Neonatal ICU Is in Need of Volunteer ‘Baby Cuddlers’

barsik/iStock via Getty Images
barsik/iStock via Getty Images

You don’t have to be an empty-nester impatiently waiting for grandkids to feel the urge to cuddle a newborn baby. And, unless you or a loved one happens to be raising a baby at the moment, the opportunity doesn’t arise all that often. But if you live in Michigan and have a little extra time on your hands, now is your chance to get the snuggle action that you (and the babies) have been craving.

MLive reports that Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan, is looking for volunteers to cuddle, rock, and soothe babies in its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It’s no surprise that the hospital takes the safety of its patients—especially infants—very seriously: All applicants must pass a background check, interview, and extensive training before gaining access to the NICU.

You’ll also have to make at least a year-long commitment to volunteer for four hours on a weekly or biweekly basis. Though the NICU staff could use volunteers every hour of every day, right now they only need people to sign up for the graveyard shift—between midnight and 8 a.m.

If staying up past your bedtime once a week sounds like a reasonable trade-off for four hours of tender, loving care and that sweet baby smell, you can apply on Covenant HealthCare’s website here.

Wondering why you now feel the urge to move to Saginaw just so you can cuddle Covenant’s newborns? You can blame evolution. Newborns aren’t so supremely snuggle-worthy just because they’re often soft and doughy; they also have large, round eyes and tiny noses, mouths, and chins. This configuration of facial features is called kinderschema, and it activates our instinct to nurture and protect, giving our species the best chance of survival. You can read more about it here.

[h/t MLive]

A Custom Wheelchair Allowed This Brain-Injured Baby Raccoon to Walk Again

фотограф/iStock via Getty Images
фотограф/iStock via Getty Images

Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.

As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.

Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.

Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.

[h/t Tribune Media Wire]

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