Does caffeine boost memory?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Remember college's late-night cram sessions? Was it the cramming that helped pass tests? Or was it all that caffeine?
Conventional wisdom has long held that caffeine does boost memory. But until now, no one’s proven it.
Enter brain researchers from Johns Hopkins University. They had volunteers view pictures of various items: Plant, basket, saxophone, seahorse.
Then each drank a caffeine shot. About as much as in a double espresso. A control group, who’d also viewed the pictures, took placebos.
The researchers took saliva samples from all volunteers to test their caffeine levels. Before the test, then one, three, and twenty-four hours after.
The next day, all volunteers viewed more pictures. For each one, they noted if it was the same as the day before, different, or just similar.
Results? Although both groups identified same and different images equally well, caffeinated volunteers were better than controls at spotting similar images.
Meaning caffeine seems to enhance subtle visual discrimination.
Now if I could just find my coffee mug.
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