Coffee not linked to psoriasis

Reuters, Tuesday 20 Mar 2012

First psoriasis was found linked to alcohol, then to tobacco, but, thankfully, at least one vice has been eliminated from the list linked with psoriasis: caffeine

Researchers have found a vice that's not tied to psoriasis: coffee.

In fact, when Dr Abrar Qureshi and his team at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston first set out to study whether there was a link between the skin disease and java, they thought the anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine might actually protect against psoriasis.

Scientists believe psoriasis is caused by an abnormal immune system attack on the body's own cells, which causes them to form red, scaly patches all over the body that usually itch.

Typical treatments for psoriasis include topical creams, ultraviolet light exposure and systemic drugs that target the immune system.

To see whether consumed caffeine had any influence on whether a person developed psoriasis, Qureshi and his colleagues looked at more than 82,000 participants in the Nurses' Health Study.

All of the participants had filled out questionnaires about their daily food and beverage intake in 1991 and were free of psoriasis at that point.

Over the next 14 years, nearly 1,000 people in the study developed psoriasis, the team reports in the Archives of Dermatology.

Initially, the risk did seem a bit higher among those who got a lot of caffeine in their diet, whether from coffee, tea, soft drinks or chocolate.

But coffee drinkers also smoked more than people with a smaller caffeine intake.

Earlier studies from Qureshi's team have tied psoriasis to both alcohol and tobacco, so when the researchers took the latter into account they found there was no longer any link between caffeine and skin problems.

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