Coffee is wonderful, tea is grand, and soda (at least low-calorie) is great. Not only does the caffeine make mornings easier to handle, new research shows that your memory gets a boost too. Isn’t life wonderful?
Researchers at Johns Hopkins recently published the results of their study on memory and caffeine in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Neuroscience. They found that caffeine can improve long-term memory, at least for 24 hours.
The research study was very cleverly designed. 20 volunteer were divided into two groups. These volunteers did not consume caffeinated foods or beverages in their normal lives. Half of the participants received a caffeine pill and the other half received a placebo (sugar pill). Five minutes later, both groups viewed a series of images. The next day, each volunteer viewed a series of images and indicated which images were identical or similar with yesterday’s images and which were new.
During the testing, neither the volunteers nor the testers knew which people received caffeine pills and which received placebos. Only after the tests were completed did the researchers learn which volunteers actually consumed caffeine. This kept the researchers from unintentionally skewing the results.
Volunteers who received caffeine were better able to identify images which were similar to previous images, compared to non-caffeinated volunteers. The tests were performed with caffeine equivalent to half a cup of coffee and again with caffeine equivalent to a whole cup of coffee. The results were similar, with slightly better memory performance from the higher caffeine group.
Caffeine has been previously shown to help fight cancer. Now we learn that it helps memory, too. That should allow me to count my Keurig as a medical device, right?