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Buzz the Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

by Stephen Braun

  • ISBN: 9780195092899
  • ISBN10: 0195092899

Buzz the Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

by Stephen Braun

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 09/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780195092899
  • ISBN10: 0195092899
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Description: Now, in Buzz, Stephen Braun removes the cloak surrounding alcohol and caffeine. In an entertaining blend of modern science and ancient lore, Braun takes readers on a remarkable tour of two substances as familiar as a cup of coffee or a can of beer and yet as mysterious and unpredictable as the spirits these beverages were once thought to contain. Much of what Buzz reveals contradicts conventional wisdom. Braun shows, for instance, that alcohol is no simple depressant but is, instead, a "pharmacy in a bottle" mimicking the actions of drugs such as cocaine, Valium, opium, and ether. Drawing on the latest findings of neuroscience, Braun explains how molecules of alcohol interact with the brain to produce the wide-ranging effects for which it is well-known. In clear, non-technical language, Braun explores how alcohol affects sex, the immune system, sleep, and memory. Also probed are the many reasons that alcohol can be so addictive to a minority of users. Caffeine - the most widely-used drug on earth - is equally interesting. Here in Buzz is the first clear and detailed explanation of how caffeine actually revs up the brain and body. This ubiquitous molecule - found in tea, coffee, most soft drinks, chocolate, and hundreds of non-prescription drugs - achieves its many effects in a manner wholly different than is popularly believed. Among other topics, Braun explores the role of caffeine in creativity, sex, athletic performance, dieting, and PMS. He also delves into why caffeine can be so habit-forming and whether caffeine can really be considered "addictive". This illuminating and often amusing book is laced throughout with the voices of individuals as famous as Theodore Roosevelt (whocoined the phrase "Good to the last drop") and as ordinary as Kaldi, an Arabian goat herder credited with discovering coffee's power to stimulate. Shakespeare, Mikhail Gorbachev, Balzac, Buddhist monks, David Letterman, and John Steinbeck make cameo appearances.
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