A Possible Perk for Coffee Addicts: Better Long-Term Memory
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There are already plenty of reasons to keep your caffeine addiction alive and kicking: habitual coffee drinkers are less likely to die of heart failure as those who don't indulge, and research has suggested that caffeine may help prevent cancer, diabetes, stroke, and Parkinson's disease.
But the stimulant's most important perk is intuitive: it boosts both short-term memory and focus, energizing us when we should, by all rights, be asleep at our desks.
And now there's another reason to grab your morning cup of coffee: A recent study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience suggests that caffeine may also boost our long-term memory.
Researchers conducted a double-blind trial, in which they gave participants 100 to 300 milligrams of caffeine five minutes after they looked at a series of images. The next day, the group who received 200 (the equivalent of one strong cup of coffee) or 300 milligrams of caffeine were able to more accurately identify when a picture was similar, but a little different, from the one they had seen before.
While the results are a little murky (the group who received the placebo performed better than those who only received 100 milligrams of caffeine), the study's authors still suspect they're onto something.
"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," Yassa, senior author of the paper, told Johns Hopkins' news network. "We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours."
Related: 3 Easy Tricks to Improve Your Memory