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Why Your Brain Will Trick You this April Fool's Day

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you gotten taken in by an April Fool's Day prank don't be embarrassed, it turns out we're hardwired to be gullible.

According to experts, the human brain has evolved to sometimes override our clear sensory perceptions of the world around us, meaning sometimes we fall for a good prank.

Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist and professor at the University of California San Francisco Medical School, said humans can override our basic "bottom up" sensory perception of the world with "top down" processing, meaning we can override natural instincts with rationalizations.

Gazzaley explains that this could mean ignoring what's going in the physical world around us because we believe we "know" better than what our sense are telling us.

"It’s based on memories and experiences and that is really a powerful force and an overwhelming force in humans that shape how we view the world," explained Gazzaley, of human perceptions of the world around us.

Gazzaley said one example of "top down" processing overriding our "bottom up" perceptions would be missing a close friend on the street because you're engrossed in your phone screen. Another clear example is going to see a magic show and trying to figure out how the trick is performed, but being unable to.

"In the whole misdirection thing when [the magician is] showing you their hand, your experience is telling you this is important," said Gazzaley. "But they're doing something with the other hand."

Gazzaley said magicians have told him that intoxicated people are better at figuring out the trick because their "top down" processing is dulled.

"You set up your whole belief system based on memories and goals. It shapes your reality in a way that is not exactly corresponding with more on the surface reality," said Gazzaley. "It could create the type of illusions that magicians thrive on."

Gazzaley said as a result, people can easily be taken in by a good April Fool's prank.

"April fool’s off across your belief structure and your view of reality to create something that in other circumstances isn’t that believable," he said.

In addition to the "top down" fake out, there's also scare tactic pranks that humans are hard-wired to respond to, according to experts.

Dr. Tanvir Syed, a neurologist at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said that the brain is designed to perceive any threat as real, even if it's a rubber snake.

"The way we process any kind of stimulus is by threat level," said Syed. "The way our nervous system is, we respond to threats very prepare us for fight or flight."

That means if someone decides to try and prank you with something that scares you, you're likely not going to be able to remain calm and collected. Syed said your brain would rather react to a threat -- even a fake threat -- than be injured.

Even if you try to plan ahead and have no reaction to a prank designed to scare you, Syed says you'll likely have a subconscious response to any threat, which is "100 times more powerful" than the conscious mind in terms of brain synapses.

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Picking Your Work Hours Could Pick Up Your Spirits

iStock/Thinkstock(LOUGHBOROUGH, England) — Choosing your occupation is one thing. Choosing the number of hours you work is an entirely different matter altogether, which may not be in your power.

However, Andy Charlwood, a professor of human resource management at Loughborough University, says if workers did get to pick the amount of hours they spent on the job weekly, it would improve their spirits and probably their performance.

In studying the working-time patterns of 20,000 adults over 18 years, Charlwood and his team discovered that over half of those working 50 hours or more weekly and 40 more percent working 40-to-49 hours preferred to put in fewer hours.

The obvious drawbacks of being overworked, according to Charlwood, are deterioration of life satisfaction as well as added stress.

Ultimately, he says that “government and employer policies need to give workers greater flexibility to choose the hours that they work.”

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Pains in the Head and Hand Have Apparent Link

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — On the surface, carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine headaches don’t seem to be connected but a new study reports that these painful connections are apparently linked.

Dr. Huay-Zong Law of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas says that they actually share a “common systemic or neurological factor.”

Law and his team, after analyzing the data found in a health survey of 26,000 U.S. adults, learned that a third of people with carpal tunnel syndrome, a numbness and weakness of the hand, also complained of debilitating headaches known as migraines.

What’s more, twice as many people with migraines had carpal tunnel syndrome than those who didn’t have migraines.

Delving further into the study, Law discovered that migraines and carpal tunnel syndrome share several risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, smoking and being a woman.

Still, Law cautioned the exact connection between the two conditions is not totally clear.

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High Blood Pressure Only During Doctor's Visits Could Be a Sign of Trouble

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Do you suffer from white-coat hypertension?

It’s a condition whereby a person’s blood pressure actually spikes during a doctor’s visit but usually during no other times.

However, whatever white-coat hypertension is attributed to, such as anxiety, for instance, it may also be sign of serious health problems that are normally associated with actual hypertension.

That’s the finding of Italian researchers who did a meta-analysis of 10 studies involving thousands of adult patients from three different continents including the U.S.

What they learned was that people who experienced white-coat hypertension had significantly thicker carotid neck arteries than people with normal blood pressure.

Thicker carotid neck arteries is a sign of hardening of the arteries, a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.

While hypertension is associated with carotid artery thickening, even surges of blood pressure, such as in the doctor’s office, can also result in arterial damage.

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Bacon Sounds Better than It Tastes and Smells

iStock/Thinkstock(OXFORD, England) — Ah, bacon. It tastes good. It smells good. And yes, it sounds good too.

Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University who also fancies himself a food sensory expert, says what really turns people on about bacon and other culinary delights are the pleasant sensations they provide the ear rather than the taste buds or nose.

Although many of Spence’s peers believe he’s a bit daft, he says he can back up his claim with a study in which people used various descriptive words to explain what they liked about 79 foods.

According to Spence, the word “crisp” was used three times as much as other descriptors because "crisp" indicates freshness.

University of Leeds researchers also gave Spence more ammunition when participants in a bacon experiment said that crunchiness was crucial to what makes up the perfect BLT.

As Spence explains it, people are enamored with the textural properties of food as they're biting or chewing it while the actual sound made while eating seems to affect the perception of flavor.

He adds that as people age and start to lose their senses of taste and smell, the ambient quality of food might compensate for these deficiencies.

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Five Patients Being Monitored for Ebola Reach End of Quarantine Period

Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images(OMAHA, Neb.) -- The five people at Nebraska Medicine being monitored after being exposed to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone have reached the end of the quarantine period.

According to a statement from the senior media relations coordinator for Nebraska Medicine, none of the five have been determined to have contracted Ebola. Four of the five patients left the Omaha area.

The fifth patient, the hospital said, had a cardiac-related issue over the weekend, but was discharged from the hospital. That patient will leave the Omaha area soon.

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1,000-Year-Old Eye Infection Salve May Kill MRSA Super Bug, Study Shows

University of Nottingham(NEW YORK) -- A relatively new super bug may have met its match in a 1,000-year-old eye treatment, according to researchers from the University of Nottingham.

The recipe to cure eye infections comes from Bald’s Leechbook, an old English leather-bound tome that was buried deep within the British Library in London. When scientists painstakingly followed a step-by-step recipe to recreate the old-world salve, they found it killed over 90 percent of a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- also known as the MRSA bacteria -- that was grown in a petri dish of mouse cells.

The tenth-century concoction contained two species of allium (garlic, plus either onion or leek), wine from a vineyard that has existed since the ninth century and oxgall, the bile from a cow’s stomach. A very specific set of instructions included brewing the solution in a brass vessel, straining it through a cloth and then letting the mixture sit for nine days before use.

The researchers concluded it wasn’t one particular ingredient that did the trick but rather the entire recipe.

“We thought that Bald’s eye salve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity, because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab," Freya Harrison, one of the lead Nottingham researchers, said in a statement. “But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was.”

Each year, 90,000 Americans suffer from invasive MRSA infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has become one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs known, costing billions of dollars in health care spending and killing about 20,000 yearly. The CDC says MRSA is a particular threat in hospital settings, though in recent years infections from the deadly virus have declined by over 50 percent.

While the results of the experiment are intriguing, the team is looking for more funding to see if the treatment has any practical application in the real world. The preliminary results done using the simple mouse cells were presented at the annual conference of the Society for General Microbiology in Birmingham earlier this week.

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Doctors Ask Why Some Enterovirus 68 Patients Developed Polio-Like Paralysis

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- When 4-year-old Allen Howe went from being a little goofball to being unable to move 80 percent of his body, his mother was in tears. Days earlier, he had a fever and a cough.

"I felt helpless," Teresa Howe told ABC News' Nightline in December. "He was lying in bed and he literally was screaming, 'Help me, Mom,' and I'm just bawling."

Allen was among the small fraction of children with the respiratory illness enterovirus 68 to develop sudden unexplained paralysis after the initial severe flu-like symptoms. Allen and the others are reportedly recovering, but doctors at the University of San Francisco set out to figure out why the paralysis set in to begin with -- and why only some children were hit.

Federal and state health officials have confirmed 1,153 enterovirus 68 cases in 49 states and Washington, D.C., from August through January. Fourteen patients died, and several clusters developed polio-like paralysis.

Doctors now know that the paralysis and weakness is brought on by acute flaccid myelitis, or inflammation of the nerve cells, but it's tough to say how it's connected to the virus, experts say.

Dr. Charles Chiu and his team at UCSF studied 25 patients who developed paralysis in California and Colorado for their study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet. They found that of two siblings with identical strains of enterovirus 68, only one developed paralysis, leading Chiu to suspect that the virus alone may not be at fault for the paralysis. It could be an abnormal immune system response.

"This suggests that it's not only the virus, but also patients' individual biology that determines what disease they may present with," Chiu said in a statement.

The researchers also noticed that they didn't find traces of the virus in the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the inflamed nerve cells, leading them to believe the virus wasn't directly attacking them. Chiu said it's crucial to continue searching for answers.

"Given that none of the children have fully recovered, we urgently need to continue investigating this new strain of EV-D68 [enterovirus 69] and its potential to cause acute flaccid myelitis," he said.

The peak enterovirus season has been over for some time, but Dr. Kathryn Miller, assistant professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said it could come back next year.

As a mother of four, she said she thinks it's important to remember that cases will go away like normal colds. Parents should remind their children to wash their hands thoroughly, and if a child's cold seems more severe than usual, parents should call their family doctor.

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Cincinnati Reds Debut Stadium Nursery for Mom-Baby Baseball Fans

Great American Ball Park(CINCINNATI) -- Baseball-loving moms with babies everywhere can root, root, root for the Reds -- even if they're Cards fans.

The Cincinnati Reds have debuted what's thought to be the first suite in Major League Baseball for nursing moms and their offspring -- the Reds fans of the future.

During the off season, the Cincinnati Reds partnered with Pampers and local homebuilder Fischer Homes to create the suite.

The decision was made after Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini was informed by the Great American Ball Park operations staff that an increasing number of moms were requesting a quiet and private place to feed their babies while at a Reds game.

The suite features gliders, changing station, a kitchenette with a sink, ice and refrigerator, lockers for storing items and, most importantly, a flat-screen TV so mom doesn't miss a home run. It's located on the Suite Level near the Champions Club elevators.

The suite will be ready to welcome tiny fans and moms on April 6 to coincide with Opening Day.

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'Bubble Boy' Seth Lane to Undergo Bone Marrow Transplant

Leanne Lane(NEW YORK) -- March 27 was a big day for 'Bubble Boy' Seth Lane, the 5-year-old who was born without an immune system.

Trending worldwide, the social media campaign #WearYellowForSeth grabbed the attention of Seth fans from all over the globe.

On Tuesday, Seth embarks on the first step towards having the bone marrow transplant that could potentially save his life.

"He's doing generally okay," mom Leanne Lane told ABC News. "He’s having an operation today to have his gallbladder out so so he can have his chemotherapy. He's in there right now."

"This is new for us. He's never had any operations on his organs before. He gets upset. He just says 'mummy and daddy' over and over again, but we’ll be outside waiting until hes awake," she said.

Despite her little boy having to go through surgery on Tuesday, Lane said that Seth was overjoyed about the amount of people who wore yellow for him on Friday.

"Friday was amazing," she said. "The hospital did a lot there, even the local firemen came to see him and put a ladder up to his window. He [Seth] was shell-shocked."

"It was so busy, we couldn’t even keep up. Obviously there was Ashton Kutcher and 'Paw Patrol.' They did all pups in yellow and sent him a voice message. Seth thought it was brilliant," Lane said.

"On Saturday morning he said 'is everyone going to wear yellow again today?'" she added.

Celebrities like Joe Jonas and Fifth Harmony's AllyBrooke joined Kutcher in wearing yellow. Television crews, retail stores, and even the cast of Sesame Street, tweeted in support of Seth.

"There was a time difference between the UK and America and once America woke up, it went crazy again," Lane said. "It's really hard to put that in words. We just want to say thank you. He's one little boy in England who's five years old and it makes us feel amazing that people care so much. On Friday and Saturday Seth spent the whole day out of his bed and it really picked him up."

"People have been messaging me saying it's inspired them to register to give bone marrow. If they can help one person that’s amazing," she said.

Because Seth is on steroids, Lane said it will slow down his recovery process.

She added that if all runs smoothly, Seth's doctors will perform the transplant in three to four weeks.

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The Best and Worst Easter Candy for You, Ranked by a Dietician

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s Easter candy week, and with holiday favorites -- Peeps, chocolate bunnies and crème eggs -- hitting the shelves, it can be very hard to resist temptation.

ABC News spoke to Georgie Fear, a registered dietitian and author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, to rank your options from (relative) best for you to worst.

“It’s weird to call any candy ‘best’ for you,” Fear told ABC, but she forged ahead anyway so you can indulge as you see fit.

High-Quality Dark Chocolate Bunnies

“Where chocolate bunnies are concerned, a high-quality dark chocolate rabbit such as a Lindt gold foil-wrapped bunny offers some healthy polyphenols and may be satisfying in smaller portions than other types of chocolate,” Fear said.

Single Serving Crème Eggs

“If portion control is tough for you, and you love seasonal items that aren't available all year, pick up a Cadbury Crème egg or Russell Stover single-serve egg in the flavor you like most,” she advised. “One of the great things about Easter candy is that you can buy single servings easily, often near checkout, and not even need to venture down the candy aisle gauntlet.”

“A single Cadbury Crème Egg or Russell Stover Easter Egg could be just what you want for about 150 calories. And compared to possessing a Valentine’s Day box of chocolate-filled candies, you'll be far less likely to eat past your comfort level,” she added.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg

“If you like chocolate and peanut butter, you might prefer a Reese's chocolate and peanut butter egg for 170 calories. Compared to the classic two-cup Reese's peanut butter cups package, you'll save some calories and fat,” Fear revealed.

Homemade Easter Candy

“This is a dangerous idea -- if you make two dozen chocolate peanut butter eggs, someone's going to eat them all eventually! Not having to even unwrap the candies makes it exceptionally easy to go overboard with eating some multiple times a day,” she warned.

“If you do want to make your own, wrap them up and keep them out of sight, and try to plan on a moderate amount with a meal instead of grazing on them every time you pass through the kitchen,” Fear advised. “Homemade candy does offer the option of using higher-quality, real-food ingredients (such as dark chocolate, fruit or coconut) than pharmacy-purchased candy, but it's not a nutritious choice, and the portion size increase makes it a worse health hazard than a smaller portion of the kind you'd unwrap.”

Jelly Beans and Marshmallow Treats

“They’re fun Easter classics, but don't be fooled into thinking that just because these are fat free that they are healthy picks,” she said. “Essentially, both these options are straight sugar, which means that they could send you on a blood sugar roller coaster and only craving more of the sweet stuff in a short time.”

Milk or White Chocolate Bunnies

“A milk chocolate or white chocolate rabbit lacks as many of the heart-healthy polyphenols that dark chocolate offers, and can pack a hefty calorie and fat price tag, even if the monetary cost is low. White chocolate actually contains no polyphenols at all, since it has no cocoa content,” Fear revealed. “The worst Easter candy, in my opinion, is low quality ‘chocolate’ bunnies made with partially hydrogenated oil instead of cocoa butter and hardly any actual cocoa at all.”

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Terri Schiavo: 10 Years After Her Death 'End of Life' Debate Rages On

Tim Boyles/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ten years after the death of Terri Schiavo, the debate over when to end the life of someone catastrophically ill rages on.

Terri Schindler Schiavo collapsed at home in the early morning hours of Feb. 25, 1990, according to the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Foundation started by her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. She was ultimately diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy, a brain injury resulting from oxygen starvation.

Her husband Michael Schiavo asked for her feeding tube to be removed once doctors declared her in a persistent vegetative state, touching off a decade-long legal battle with her parents that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The court eventually sided with Schiavo’s husband and the young woman’s feeding tube was removed. She died about two weeks after the tube was removed on March 31, 2005.

Many of the issues stirred up by the Schiavo case still resonate today, said Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“Schiavo was huge landmark in maintaining the rights of spouses to stop any and all medical interventions,” Caplan said. “But it raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions about when it becomes acceptable to remove someone from life support, even when the law makes it clear.”

The line then is the line now, Caplan said. When someone is diagnosed as permanently unconscious, life-saving measures may cease. But all the legal and ethical battles have not made the personal decisions any easier, Caplan said.

“And now we even more technology and experimental drugs to decide about,” he said.

Jahi McMath

Caplan referenced 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who was declared brain dead by doctors after going into cardiac arrest during tonsil surgery at Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland in California. The family sued to keep the child on life support. She was eventually moved to New Jersey where state law allows religious objection to brain death.

Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield, spoke to ABC News exclusively last year, saying her daughter continues to respond to verbal commands. The family filed suit against the hospital earlier this month for negligence.

Brittany Maynard

Maynard was a 29-year-old newlywed from California who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in early 2014. She moved to Oregon for the legal right to end her own life. Oregon is one of five states that give patients the right to obtain a prescription to die in their sleep.

In her legislative testimony, she said some people suggested that she do palliative sedation where a person is placed in a drug-induced coma and deprived of nutrients and water until death comes on its own. Caplan said this is similar to what Terri Schiavo went through.

Maynard ended her own life last November. Earlier this month, her family released a video of her testimony for a right-to-die bill in California that she recorded shortly before her death.

Marlise Munoz

Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed with a suspected embolism in November 2013. As a result of her pregnancy, John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas said state law barred it from removing her from life support until Munoz miscarried or a baby was born.

In this case, the family took the opposite tact from Schiavo’s parents, Caplan said, by asking that Munoz be removed from life support so that she could die. After months of legal wrangling, the family won the case. She was removed from life support last January and ceased all cardiac function a few minutes later.

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National Eating Disorder Awareness Group Endorses Aerie Underwear

American Eagle(NEW YORK) — American Eagle's underwear line has been awarded the National Eating Disorders Association's first-ever seal of approval for showing real bodies and unretouched photos on its website and in its ads.

NEDA announced on Monday that the intimate apparel line, called Aerie, has been awarded with its Inspire seal of approval. Aerie in 2014 launched its #AerieReal campaign, setting itself apart from other bra and underwear brands by leaving in models' blemishes, tattoos, cellulite and other imperfections. This year, it partnered with NEDA, becoming a key sponsor in its eating disorder awareness walks across the country.

"Unrealistic images in advertising and the media play a role in the rising epidemic of eating disorders and poor self-esteem," NEDA CEO Lynn Grefe said in a statement. "But Aerie's campaigns highlight a range of body types. Their approach is not only socially responsible, but also resonates with the public and is profitable. We hope others will learn by Aerie's outstanding example."

Model Hana Mayeda was one of the first models to be part of Aerie's new campaign, and she said the thought of not being retouched initially gave her butterflies. She said the experience forced her to deal with her own insecurities, and she came out embracing her flaws.

"I had to travel to the place of 'Oh my god, there's a huge billboard, and that's my butt and it's not retouched,'" she said, adding that she grew to realize the flaws make some of the photos more beautiful. "They were capturing essence of who I was in a moment as opposed to how I fit in a designer gown."

Jennifer Foyle, global brand president for Aerie, said the company is trying to create a movement, and showing unretouched photos is just the beginning.

"We just want girls to feel proud about themselves," she said.

Still, experts say there's a long way to go before we reach true acceptance.

Body image expert Tomi-Ann Roberts, who chairs the department of psychology at Colorado State College, said the first image she saw on Aerie's website was of a woman in a sexualized pose who had been cropped to avoid showing her limbs. This, she said, wasn't exactly realistic.

"She is not emaciated like a runway model, but she is the idealized thin, white, beautiful we see," Roberts said.

The site does have a page to show customers photos of every cup size on a real woman with that cup size, but it takes a few clicks to find.

Sara Ziff, a model who founded the advocacy group Model Alliance, said Photoshop is one of the many tools used to enhance photos to "promote an unrealistic ideal."

"For example, lighting, the angle of the photographer's lens, and make-up also play a big role," Ziff said. "So while it is refreshing and admirable that a company like Aerie has made a policy not to retouch their models' images to promote a more realistic body image, it is also somewhat naive to think that even these unretouched ads are unfiltered and, hence, 'real.'"

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor for ABC News and practicing OBGYN, said half of her patients are young girls, and body image is a frequent topic of conversation at appointments. She said whether it's the fashion industry or taking selfies that has prompted a young girl or woman to think about her body, it's important to focus on overall wellness rather than a number of the scale or jeans size.

"It's nice to say that you're not touching up any models, but there's no shortage of models who look spectacular untouched," she said. "Until we start seeing models of every size, every color, every age, you're not really going to see that change in terms of accepting imperfection."

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Making Friends in High School May Be as Important as Making Good Grades

Creatas/Thinkstock(LONDON) — No one ever said making friends in school was easy but if your children manage to do so, they might be setting themselves up for a very secure financial future.

According to a survey of U.S. high school students that followed them to adulthood, teens who made a lot of friends earned salaries that were ten percent higher than adolescents who had fewer close pals.

What's more, high school kids improved their earning power if they became the center of their group of friends and influenced their peers.

Researchers said the major takeaway of the study is the need to show youngsters the importance of developing social skills and participating in school activities, which can benefit them now and in the future.

The findings from the AddHealth study were presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference in England.

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Coffee Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption are well documented. Now comes a new report from the World Cancer Research Fund International that states the chances of contracting liver cancer go up significantly with as few as three alcoholic drinks daily.

Scientists made this discovery through an analysis of almost three dozen studies involving more than eight million people.

However, drinkers and non-drinkers alike may be able to reduce their risk of liver cancer by drinking coffee, based on research from the same study. According to the report, a single cup of coffee daily may cut the chance of contracting liver cancer by 14 percent.

Previous studies have shown that coffee and its extracts lessen the inflammation of genes that can cause cancer in the liver.

An estimated 24,550 people die each year in the U.S. from liver and intrahepatic duct cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.

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