Caffeine Boosts Short-Term Memory
But Don't Rely on Caffeine for Brain Power Yet, Says Researcher
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 30, 2005 -- Caffeine revs up brain areas tied to short-term memory, new
But don't rely on coffee or cola to boost your memory just yet.
"We still need to learn more about caffeine's effect on mental
resources," says Florian Koppelstaetter, MD, in a news release.
Koppelstaetter is a radiology fellow at Austria's Medical University
Koppelstaetter and colleagues studied about a dozen healthy adults. Caffeine
boosted activity in brain regions related to attention and short-term memory,
the researchers report.
They presented their findings in Chicago at the annual meeting of the
Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
How Much Caffeine Did It Take?
The caffeine dose used in the study was 100 milligrams. That's roughly the
amount of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of coffee, depending on how you brew
Participants were told to avoid caffeine for 12 hours and nicotine for four
hours before the study. They were tested twice -- once with caffeine and once
with a placebo. The tests were done a day or two apart.
Participants got brain scans (MRI) while taking verbal memory tests.
The tests didn't delve into the distant past. Participants didn't have to
remember their kindergarten teacher's name or their first apartment's phone
number. Instead, they had to recall a handful of letters shown 20 minutes
The brain scans showed more activity in brain regions tied to attention and
short-term activity with caffeine, compared with the placebo.
It's the first time caffeine has been scientifically shown to have that
effect, the researchers write.
How long did the effects last? The study didn't test that. In their report,
Koppelstaetter and colleagues don't make any recommendations about
Besides coffee, caffeine is found in tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and some