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March 17, 1975

Getting Rid of Demons

JAMA. 1975;231(11):1167-1168. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240230041021

Like demons of old, risk factors for disease and death lurk everywhere. They lie concealed in cigarette packs; they crouch behind dinner tables; they hide in water faucets; they sit in ambush on idlers' rocking chairs. And they become doubly ominous when disguised as abnormal, borderline, or atypical laboratory data.

What a relief then to find that some risk factors have been recently reappraised and exonerated.

One such exculpation, previously commented on in an editorial in The Journal,1 is that of coffee as a risk factor for myocardial infarction and sudden death. Dawber et al2 and Klatsky et al3 have provided sufficient statistical evidence to clear the delectable potion from previous suspicion4 of complicity in bringing about these disastrous complications.

Another gratifying report assures us that, contrary to the experience with patients who had a previous myocardial infarction,5 premature ventricular beats occurring randomly in the