ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Have Fun But Put Play It Safe on the 4th
Be Healthy, Spend Less
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
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Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Just sniffing that first hot cup of coffee in the morning may help ease some stresses you might be feeling, a South Korean trial indicates.

When rats inhaled the aroma of roasted coffee beans, a number of genes were activated, including some that produce proteins with healthful antioxidant activity, the researchers reported.

"The meaning of it is not totally clear yet," said Dr. Peter R. Martin, director of the Institute of Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. "What it does show is that coffee smells do change the brain to some degree, and it behooves us to understand why that is happening."

The findings, from a team led by Han-Seok Seo at Seoul National University in South Korea, were expected to be published in the June 25 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The experiment was done with laboratory rats, some of whom were stressed by being deprived of sleep. The researchers did detailed genetic studies that showed the activity of 11 genes was increased and the activity of two genes was decreased in the rats that smelled the coffee, compared to those who did not. In effect, the aroma of the coffee beans helped ease the stress of the sleep-deprived rodents.

The experiment provides "for the first time, clues to the potential antioxidant or stress-relaxation activities of the coffee bean aroma," the researchers wrote.

And they added, "These results indirectly explain why so many people use coffee for staying up all night, although the volatile compounds of coffee beans are not fully consistent with those of the coffee extracts. In other words, the stress caused by sleep loss via caffeine may be alleviated through smelling the coffee aroma."

"They used the latest in technology to see how brain expression of RNA changed," Martin said. RNA is the molecule that carries out the instructions encoded in genes. "This is just the beginning of a very interesting line of investigation," he added.

The aromatic compounds responsible for coffee's odor may be antioxidants, "but they are not the same as the major antioxidants that are in the drink," said Joe A. Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Chemically, the antioxidants in liquid coffee are polyphenols, Vinson said. Those in the aroma are heterocycle compounds containing sulfur or nitrogen atoms.

"There are two ways to get things into your system, and the quickest way is to smell them," Vinson said. "Caffeine gets into the brain via the blood stream. Here, aromatic molecules get into the brain through the olfactory system. The levels in the air are parts per million, so obviously these are minor components in the air. But they are doing something."

Previous studies have shown that coffee consumption can reduce depression and suicide risk, as well as relieve stress, effects generally attributed to the caffeine in coffee, the researchers noted. But while some 900 compounds that float away from the bean have been identified, this is the first study to assay their possible effects, they added.

It's too early to recommend that people feeling stress sniff coffee to ease their way, Martin said. But, he added, "people who don't even drink coffee are fascinated by the odor of it. Ever since my little boy was two years old, he has loved the odor of coffee. I have always thought that coffee has some mystic quality, and there is some deep historical basis for it."

More information

The latest on coffee health research is available from the Coffee Science Information Centre.



SOURCES: Peter R. Martin, M.D., director, Vanderbilt University Institute of Coffee Studies, Nashville, Tenn.; Joe A. Vinson, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, University of Scranton, Pa.; June 25, 2008, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Last Updated: June 13, 2008

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