COLUMBIA, SC (CAP) - A new government study commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services looked at some 5,500 Americans and found that those who drank tea or coffee on a consistent basis had less than half the chance of insanely dismembering the bodies of their neighbors after killing them in fits of uncontrollable rage. The study did not discriminate between brands of coffee.
"It's important to note that drinking coffee is not a panacea for spontaneous action resulting from environmental stimuli," said lead researcher Alex Winkler. "In other words, if you've just found out that your neighbor has been sleeping with your wife while you take the kids to the park, your desire to dispose of his body parts in dumpsters around town will not be abated simply by going home and brewing a hot cup of joe."
The study, led by Winkler's team of scientists at the University of South Carolina, found the calming effect most present in habitual drinkers, with a steady decline among those who drink coffee only when someone else is buying. The study also noted an alarming increase in irritability among those Winkler dubbed "born again morning people" who had sworn off of coffee entirely.
"That period of time during which people are detoxifying and trying to wean themselves off of a caffeine addiction is most volatile," Winkler said. "Our core group of subjects falling into that category killed approximately three neighbors per person during the first week with no coffee, dismembering an average of 2.5 bodies.
"What's ironic is that those born again types who then began preaching the ills of coffee were themselves killed and dismembered by any surviving neighbors," Winkler added. "I think it's safe to say the health benefits of coffee far outweigh the negative effects."
While the personal health benefits of coffee have long been touted, this study marks the first time those benefits have extended to other people. Although the study focused on drinking coffee or tea versus simply not drinking either, researchers noted an alarming similarity in dismemberment likelihood between non-drinkers and drinkers who are deprived of their daily fix, however briefly.
"Much like you might keep a hunk of raw meat in your fridge to toss to any man-eating tigers that come wandering through your yard, neighbors at risk for dismemberment can help their own cause by keeping extra Splenda and Half-n-Half on hand in case anyone in the neighborhood runs out," said clinical psychologist Dr. Sheldon Borneau, who co-wrote the findings. "The life you save could be your own."
Similarly, the USC team found that regardless of a person's predilection for dismembering their neighbors, the risk of such an action taking place drops with every cup of coffee that a person imbibes. "Mostly because after so much coffee, they become too jittery to be able to hold a serrated knife steady," Borneau noted.
Critics of the study say more research is needed before concluding causation from the association and pointed to a landmark 2005 study that incorrectly drew a direct correlation between the number of children a woman has and the number of cups of coffee she needs to get through the day. Subsequent research determined the amount of coffee needed rose exponentially with each child after the second.
The results of the study will be published in this month's issue of Coffee Review.
- CAP News Staff