Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a team of scientists have found that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory. Their research, published by the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed.
“We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans,” said Yassa, senior author of the paper. “In the paper, we report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours.”
Until now, caffeine’s effects on long-term memory had not been examined in detail. Of the few studies done, the general consensus was that caffeine has little or no effect on long-term memory retention. The research is different from prior experiments because the subjects took the caffeine tablets only after they had viewed and attempted to memorize the images.
“The next step for us is to figure out the brain mechanisms underlying this enhancement,” Professor Yassa said. “We can use brain-imaging techniques to address these questions. We also know that caffeine is associated with healthy longevity and may have some protective effects from cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s disease. These are certainly important questions for the future.”
For more information see the January 2017 issue of Coffee & Cocoa International.