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Chocolate ingredient stops coughs

Posted - Nov. 24, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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LONDON, Nov 23, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- British researchers said an ingredient of chocolate could cure persistent coughs and lead to new, more effective cough medicines.

BBC News Online reported that researchers at Imperial College London have found a chocolate ingredient called theobromine that is nearly one-third more effective in stopping persistent coughs than codeine, the leading medication.

Theobromine produces fewer side effects than conventional treatment and does not leave people drowsy. the researchers said.

"Coughing is a medical condition which affects most people at some point in their lives, and yet no effective treatment exists," said researcher Peter Barnes. "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."

The researchers gave 10 healthy volunteers theobromine, a placebo or codeine at different times. They then exposed the volunteers to capsaicin, a substance used in clinical research to cause coughing.

The concentration of capsaicin required to produce a cough in those people given theobromine was around one third higher when compared with the group receiving a placebo.

When the group received codeine they needed only marginally higher levels of capsaicin to produce coughing, compared with the placebo.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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