Health tips for September 2015

Caffeine consumption can alter stress responses, and mental health disorders are more prevalent among workers than among the unemployed.

Wake up and chill out

Coffee is a well-known pick-me-up when you’re tired. But a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found other benefits: caffeine can alter your response to stress and may even reduce memory loss and depression associated with long-term stress.

Researchers found that certain receptors in the brain that are known targets of caffeine also help control the effects of chronic stress, which is a risk factor for developing depression and memory loss. Tests done on mice found that caffeine consumption blocks stress-related chemicals from being released in the brain and helps prevent long-term health and behavioural changes associated with stress.

Mental health at work

A recent report from the Conference Board of Canada, Healthy Brains at Work: The Footprint of Mental Health Conditions, found that mental health disorders are 60% more likely to occur among working Canadians compared with the nonworking population. About 54% of employed Canadians with a mental illness are female, but youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were most likely to have experienced depression or a mood disorder within the past year. Occupations in the service sector had the highest prevalence of mental illness in a worker’s lifetime.