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Coffee may enhance long-term memory after learning

Published on 13/01/2014

A dose of caffeine following a learning session could improve long-term memory, according to a new study from the US.

Coffee could help boost memory retention

The study from the John Hopkins University in Baltimore investigated the cognitive qualities of caffeine and whether or not it had an impact on long-term memory. The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

A team led by Daniel Borota analysed 160 participants aged between 18 and 30 years to build upon previous research on the cognitive benefits of caffeine.

The study involved participants being shown pictures of different things and were asked to define them as indoor or outdoor objects. Soon after this session they were administered with either a placebo or 200mg of caffeine in the form of a pill.

The following day the participants of the study were shown the same pictures and they were also introduced to new pictures. They were asked to identify whether or not the pictures were new or old or similar pictures shown the day before.

The researchers were able to collate information and discovered that those who had taken 200mg of caffeine were better at identifying pictures that were similar compared to those hadn’t taken caffeine.

The team also investigated whether the dosage of caffeine was an important factor in the results but they found that more caffeine had no improved effect. However any dosage less than 200mg had no effect on the subjects.

The study authors said: “Thus, we conclude that a dose of at least 200 mg is required to observe the enhancing effect of caffeine on consolidation of memory.

"Given the widespread use of caffeine and the growing interest in its effects both as a cognitive enhancer and as a neuroprotectant, these questions are of critical importance."

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