ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Low Vitamin A, C Intake Tied to Asthma Risk
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
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
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
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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