Medicine: Caffeine and Fever

Patients battling the fever of a cold or flu are often advised to take aspirin, and sometimes to drink hot tea. Is that traditional advice sound? Not according to two British pharmacologists, Anthony Milton and Michael Dascombe of the University of London's School of Pharmacy. Aspirin does reduce high temperature, but caffeine—a stimulant present in tea, coffee and some types of cola drinks—appears to keep body heat up when taken in quantity. Thus the two substances cancel out each other's effects.

The pair made their initial observations on laboratory animals, injecting some with an endotoxin, a bacterial substance that produces fever, and...

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