Study Links Coffee to Sharper Memory

(Noted News) — A study out of Portugal that studied the effects of coffee on the human brain linked America’s favorite morning drink with sharper memory, alertness, quicker learning, and better motor control. 

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of Minho studied the brains of 24 regular coffee drinkers, to 31 people that never drank any coffee at all. The researchers’ analysis concluded that the coffee drinkers had quicker neuro-connectivity in their cerebellum, the right insular, and the right precuneus.

Led by Nuno Sousa, the research team used a technology called functional magnetic resonance imagine (FMRI) to examine the connectivity of each subject’s brain. 

“Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows studying, in a non-invasive way, the function of the human brain during execution of different tasks or at rest. So far, most studies using fMRI were focused on measuring the acute effects of caffeine intake in the brain,” the study states.

Professor Sousa said this was the first time there has been an in-depth examination into how coffee affects the brain.

“This is the first time that the effect that drinking coffee regularly has on our brain network is studied with this level of detail. We were able to observe the effect of coffee on the structure and functional connectivity of our brain, as well as the differences between those who drink coffee regularly and those who don’t drink coffee, in real-time. These conclusions can, at least to some extent, help to offer a mechanistic view for some of the observed effects.” 

The study specifically names physical endurance, vigilance, dexterity, mood, memory, and cognitive function as some of the key effects of coffee consumption. The researchers explain that caffeine acts on certain receptors that lead to hyperexcitability of our central nervous systems, leading to these positive effects.

It also names certain neurodegenerative diseases that can be tempered by coffee.

“There is also evidence that coffee/caffeine intake can normalize anxiety, although higher doses of caffeine may be anxiogenic by disrupting the HPA axis. On the other hand, epidemiological and animal studies converge in concluding that coffee, caffeine, and adenosine receptor antagonists attenuate the burden of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, or psychiatric disorders such as depression.”

Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, and caffeine, its key ingredient, is the most widely consumed psychoactive stimulant in the world. It is estimated that roughly three billion cups of coffee are drunk every single day.  

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