Coffee won't just keep you awake at work; a new study in the Archives Of Internal Medicine has found that it appears to be a great way for ladies to fight off depression. Based off of data from a decade of studying 50,739 US women, researchers found that "depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption." Of course, they also found that they'll need further studies to confirm this and figure out what it means, but still!

To come to this, ahem, jolting conclusion, the researchers followed their subjects from 1980 to 2004, measuring caffeine consumption with "validated questionnaires" and measuring depression as defined as "self-reported physician-diagnosed depression and antidepressant use." From there they were able to determine that the risk of depression for those who consume four or more cups of joe a day was distinctly lower than it was for those who drank less.

The really interesting part, however, is that this benefit seems to be related to coffee itself and not to caffeine in general. The researchers did not find a similar relationship between depression and other sources of a buzz, like sodas or tea. They also didn't see any similar depression-fighting power in decaf. They argue it may be that caffeine in coffee alters the brain's chemistry but, again, want to do more research to be sure. So... Either coffee is good for you and fights depression or its kick is all in your head and causes auditory hallucinations—which is it science? Maybe we're paranoid (from all this freaking coffee?) but we're beginning to suspect Big Coffee money is the real reason for all these "studies."

[via the Guardian]