Page 5-- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 30, 1985
Caffeine linked to heart palpitations
*Acne suf erers may
neti fom stu
By TIM DALY
Is caffeine a potentially hazardous
drug, or is it simply a highly effective
According to Dr. Caesar Briefer,
director of University Health Service,
caffeine fits both descriptions.
"CAFFEINE IS well known as a
stimulant that increases one's
capacity for intellectual activity,"
said Briefer. It is well known as a
stimulant that increases one's ability
to perform fine motor tasks, such as
typing, he added.
"However, when a person con-
sumes too much caffeine, symptoms
such as a rapid pulse rate and an
irregular heart rate are possible,"
How much is too much often depen-
ds on the individual. For most people,
Briefer said four or five cups of coffee
will cause toxic symptoms (a jittery
feeling caused by an increased pulse
rate or an irregular heart rate). But
some people may feel the effects after
just one cup.
FOUR OR five cups of coffee will af-
fect one's system for several hours,
Briefer said. But sensitivity to caf-
feine varies tremendously from per-
son to person, he noted.
If someone is suffering from heart
palpitations, often the answer to the
problem is cutting down on one's caf-
While students are often thought to
be big caffeine abusers, there is no
evidence that the student population
abuses the stimulant any more than
the general population.
"I SUSPECT that there are oc-
casional abuses by college students
when they're up late studying for an
exam, but caffeine abuse is common
among all groups of society," Briefer
"One could argue that Western
society in general is addicted to cof-
fee," he said.
'Caffeine is well known as a stimulant
that increases one's capacity for in-
tellectual activity...However, when a
person consumes too much caffeine,
symptoms such as a rapid pulse rate
and an irregular heart rate are
University Health Service director
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But coffee isn't the only means of
getting that caffeine fix. There are 80
milligrams (mg) of caffeine in a cup
of coffee, 50 mg in a cup of tea, and 50
mg in 12 ounces of cola.
IN A RECENT study conducted by
the National Institute of Mental
Health (NIMH), caffeine was found to
trigger panic attacks - irrational
feelings of doom which may cause
people to choke, sweat, and have
Some people may become so used to
that morning cup of caffeine they ex-
perience withdrawal symptoms.
"There are some people who are so
dependent on caffeine that they get
headaches if they don't consume caf-
feine," said Marilyn Sargent, of the
NIMH public affairs branch.
. One signficant finding of the NIMH
study, Sargent said, is the discovery
that "people suffering from panic
disorders have panic attacks at lower
doses of caffeine than people who
aren't suffering from panic disor-
In the NIMH study, caffeine was
given to two groups of people, said
Sargent. One group consisted of
patients with panic disorders. The
other group consisted of people with
no history of panic disorders.
"In the group with no history of
panic disorders, two out of the 12
people had panic attacks after eight
cups of coffee," said Sargent. "We
stopped the experiment after the
eighth cup of coffee."
By TIM OMARZU
How many of us, armed with san-
dpaper, have stared into the mirror,
ready to rid ourselves of acne once
and for all? Acne sufferers at the
University can now avoid such drastic
faction by becoming subjects in two
dermatology department studies.
Researcher Dr. David Gorsulowsky
and the department are looking for
subjects to test topical acne
medicines. Besides ridding them-
selves of acne, qualified subjects can
earn either $75 or $100 dollars for
completing the 12-week set of ex-
GORSULOWSKY said he guaran-
tees his subjects some reduction of
acne blemishes. One study uses a
combination of medicated pads and a
modified version of benzoil peroxide
to see which is more effective. Since
two active drugs are applied, some
recovery is certain, he said.
In the other study, a modification of
a widely used prescription antibiotic
is applied to bring acne lesions under
control in three to six weeks.
Gorsulowsky said he hopes that the
effectiveness of these topical
*medications will approach that of oral
medication, with none of the negative
side effects. If these experimental
medications prove effective, they
would be on the market in 8-12 mon-
IN THE MEANTIME, acne suf-
ferers have other face-clearing op-
tions open to them, Gorsulowsky said.
The cause and most effective cures of
acne are well known since acne is
~second only to cirrhosis of the liver in
the amount of research done.
Acne blemishes are the result of any
combination of five factors; bacteria,
oilgland activity, hormone activity,
things applied to the skin, and in some
For most of us, a decrease in
adolescent hormonal activity means a
decrease in acne. But for some, acne
is a problem that continues into mid-
dle age and beyond.
GORSULOWSKY noted that "no
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acne after twenty" is not the only
prevalent acne myth.
For instance, the best studies show
that food isn't a factor in producing
blemishes. "Some people claim that
they break out after eating chocolate
or drinking a lot of pop, but ... studies
show that for the vast majority, food
has no influence on acne production."
While it helps to keep the face clean,
dirt isn't necessarily a major cause of
acne. Make-up users who have acne
are strongly encouraged to use water-
For severe acne, it is probably best
to see a physician who can prescribe
either topical or oral prescription
drugs. "Oral drugs should never be
taken without a prescription," said
In less severe cases, washing three
times and using an over the counter
medicine with benzoil peroxide is
probably as effective as anything
Will there ever be a cure for acne?
"Not in the near future," Gor-
sulowsky said. "When there are many
factors involved in the cause of a
disease, there's not likely to be just
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