ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
CANCER
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Add your Article

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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