Did anyone see the Woody Allen movie, Sleeper, in around 1973? The premise is that Woody’s character goes in for some type of minor procedure and gets anesthetized and they can’t bring him out of it. He gets frozen so that they can bring him back when they figure out how to cure him. He is a health food owner. One of the lines that has always resonated with me is when he is told that science has discovered that sugar is actually good for you and that everything we thought was bad is actually good. I don’t remember what he responded, but it was something like “It figures.”

Over the years, how often have we been told that some study has confirmed that some food is bad for us, only to be told later that another study negates the previous one and that food is fine for us and may even have benefits to our health?

Well, another article appeared in my professional magazine this week stating that “Caffeine Intake Associated with Lower Incidence of Tinnitus in Younger Women.” Tinnitus is often described as a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear when there is no outside source of the sound.

In the August edition of the American Journal of Medicine, this study followed more than 65,000 women aged 30-44 years who did not have tinnitus. After 18 years of follow up, researchers identified 5,289 cases of reported occasional tinnitus.

The outcome of this study, according to Gary Curhan, M.D., senior author of the paper and a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of network medicine at Bingham and Women’s Hospital and professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School is “we observed a significant inverse association between caffeine intake and the incidence of tinnitus among these women.”

Hmm, I can already see some problems with this study.

However, researchers reported that when compared with women with caffeine intake less than 150 mg/day (1 ½ 8 oz. cups of coffee), the incidence of reported tinnitus was 15% lower that among those women who consumed 450-599 mg. /day of caffeine. The majority of caffeine consumed among the women was from coffee and the results did not vary by age.

Ok. Here are some of my questions.  The majority was from coffee; did it matter if it was hot or cold or in a Frappuccino form? How did soft drinks fare? Did the coffee drinkers also drink colas in addition to coffee? If so, regular vs. diet? Was there a difference between teas and coffees or did these women drink both? And what happens to the women over 44? No further advantage? Oh yes, did they do hearing testing on all these women to make sure that initially their hearing was normal and did they do a hearing test on them after the study was concluded to make sure they still had normal hearing? They should have done ultra-high frequency testing so that they could look at 10,000-12,000Hz, those being some of the first to go as you age.

So there you have it. Go out and buy Starbucks stock and encourage everyone to drink at least 12 oz. daily.