ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
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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