Coffee protects against radiation

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The Independent Online
IF YOU hear a warning that a nuclear attack is imminent, you should hope that you have some coffee brewing. If you manage to drink 100 cups before the bomb hits, you might be able to survive an otherwise lethal dose of radiation.

Scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Bombay have discovered thatrats injected with caffeine are able to stand high levels of gamma radiation.

In a research programme, rats injected with 100mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight an hour before radiation exposure survived for more than a month afterwards. Those with no caffeine, or lower doses, died before that, the team reported in the Journal of Radiological Protection.

For the average man weighing about 70kg (11st), the 100mg-per-kilo requirement would demand a coffee intake of at least 100 cups in a matter of minutes before the bomb hit.

But beware not to drink coffee after the blast.

"Caffeine administered after irradiation seems to induce chromosomal aberrations rather than preventing them," said Dr Mike Clark of Britain's National Radiological Protection Board.

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