chocolate may hold cough cure

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    Chocolate may hold cough cure
    From correspondents in London
    November 23, 2004

    AN ingredient in chocolate could be used to stop persistent coughs and lead to more effective medicines, researchers said today.

    A study has found that theobromine, found in cocoa, is nearly a third more effective in stopping persistent coughs than codeine, currently considered the best cough medicine.

    Researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) said the discovery could lead to more effective cough treatments.

    "While persistent coughing is not necessarily harmful, it can have a major impact on quality of life, and this discovery could be a huge step forward in treating this problem," said Professor Peter Barnes, of ICL and Royal Brompton Hospital.

    Ten healthy volunteers were either given theobromine, codeine or a dummy pill during the trial, which also involved both Royal Brompton Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospital.

    To measure the effect of the different pills the researchers measured levels of capsaicin, which is used in research to cause coughing and as an indicator for the effectiveness of medicines.

    The team found when the volunteers were given theobromine, the concentration of capsaicin needed to produce a cough was around a third higher than in the placebo group.

    When they were given codeine they needed only marginally higher levels of capsaicin to cause a cough compared with the placebo.

    The researchers, writing in the online FASEB Journal, said theobromine worked by suppressing vagus nerve activity, which is responsible for causing coughing.

    They also found that unlike standard cough treatments, theobromine caused no adverse effects on the cardiovascular or central nervous systems, such as drowsiness.



    Just another good reason to eat chocolate.

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