: Caffeine May Boost Memory
Foods4BetterHealth.com, a food and nutrition web site that believes that healthy foods can prevent disease and illness, is reporting on a new study that found that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the amount found in a cup of coffee—can boost one’s memory.
As Foods4BetterHealth notes (http://www.foods4betterhealth.com/forgetful-much-a-cup-of-this-might-be-the-jolt-you-need-7396), the study, published in Nature Neuroscience, involved 160 people recruited by researchers at John Hopkins University. The researchers took saliva samples of the participants at the onset to analyze for base levels of caffeine and then had them look at a series of images. Afterwards, the participants were either given a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet, which is roughly equivalent to the amount found in a cup of coffee. After one day, the participants were asked to repeat the same image test as the day prior.
As the Foods4BetterHealth article, “Forgetful Much? A Cup of This Might Be the Jolt You Need” details, the participants who took a caffeine pill were better able to recall images than the ones who took a placebo. The caffeine participants performed much better on the image test, and also had more sophisticated memory skills—they were able to notice subtle differences in the images, which requires pattern separation memory skills. (Source: Borota, D., et al., “Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans,” Nature Neuroscience 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3623; Giles, G.E., et al., “Caffeine promotes global spatial processing in habitual and non-habitual caffeine consumers,” Front Hum Neurosci. October 2013; 7: 694.)
The report notes that this is the first study that looked at the effects on memory before and after taking caffeine. Previously, researchers have only looked at the effects on memory of people who had taken caffeine only before doing a memory test.
The Foods4BetterHealth report concludes that the researchers hope to determine how the brain’s hippocampus, the part responsible for memory function, is affected by caffeine. While many people argue about the benefits and risks of coffee or caffeine, this study shows that caffeine can be beneficial.
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