by Lexi Petronis
A new study in Nature Neuroscience found that drinking 200 mg of caffeine (about the size of a "tall" cup at Starbucks, or two smaller cups) might boost your ability to remember subtle details.
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Researchers had participants (who didn't regularly drink caffeine) memorize a series of pictures. After committing the pics to memory, they were given either a caffeine pill or a placebo pill. A day later--after the caffeine had left their systems--the subjects had to pick out pictures that were different from the ones they'd seen the day before. Some of the photos looked similar to the ones they'd had to look at previously, but they weren't the same--so subjects had to seriously draw on their memory banks to remember if they all matched up.
The results: those who had ingested caffeine were much better at recognizing the new photos. According to study author Michael Yassa (by way of Forbes): "We've always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans. We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours."
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And! Because subjects had caffeine after they needed to perform the memory test meant that other influences of caffeine--anxiety, energy, attention--were eliminated. Researchers are still looking into why this might be the case (the study's authors say that some caffeine may correlate with possible protection against things like Alzheimer's disease), but say that higher doses of java didn't offer results that were similar to the 200 mg dose.
Hmm! What do you think? And how much coffee (or other caffeinated beverages) do you have a day?
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