Coffee Makes You Smarter
Brain scans have confirmed what many coffee drinkers already know caffeine perks them up mentally.
The caffeine found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and even chocolate, stimulates areas of the brain governing short-term memory and attention, say Austrian researchers.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans performed on the brains of 15 subjects who had just consumed caffeine equal to that found in two cups of coffee showed increased activity in the frontal lobe where the working memory is located, and in the anterior cingulum that controls attention.
We are able to see that caffeine exerts increases in neuronal activity in distinct parts of the brain going along with changes in behavior, said Dr. Florian Koppelstatter of the Medical University Innsbruck.
Participants who were subjected to a 12-hour period without caffeine and a four-hour period without nicotine, another recognized stimulant found in cigarettes, were better able to remember a sequence of letters after consuming 100 milligrams of caffeine. Reaction times on short-term memory tests also improved.
Caffeine is the world’s most widely used stimulant, according to the research presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Global daily consumption of caffeine averages 1-1/2 cups of coffee. In the United States, the average consumption is 4-1/2 cups of java.
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