When dreaded and deadly Newcastle Disease raced through California in 1971, it wreaked havoc with the state's enormous poultry industry.

Two years later, officials announced the bird disease had finally been eliminated from the state -- but it had cost $56 million and the death of 12 million birds.

Newcastle Disease has again broken out in California.

This time it is taking not only an cconomic toll, but an esthetic one as well.

California's poultry ranches thus far have been spared, but thousands of rare, beautiful and exotic birds in pet shops have been destroyed by health officials this year in hopes of controlling the outbreak, which has also been traced to Las Vegas and Tucson.

But Minton believes the caffeine, theophyline and theobromine block the action, keeping the signal in the "on" position. As a result, Minton theorizes, certain sensitive tissues proliferate.

He told of one woman, 29, a physician who had been consuming a daily average of 1,300 milligrams of methylated-xanthines, an extraordinary amount. For comparison, There are 190 mgs in four cups of coffee.

He said she had full-blown fibrocystic breast disease. Eight weeks after giving up the suspect beverages, her breasts had cleared up.