Coffee May Improve Long-Term Memory
Plus: brain-training exercises offer new hope
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2014 12:30 AM CST
Coffee may help our long-term memories, a study suggests.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Coffee may offer a boost to our long-term memory, according to a new study in Nature Neuroscience. The findings are based on test subjects' ability to remember patterns in pictures after taking a caffeine pill. Researchers showed 44 volunteers who hadn't had coffee for at least a day a quick series of pictures, ranging from a seahorse to a hammer to a car. Afterward, randomly-chosen subjects were given a caffeine pill while others got a placebo, the Guardian reports. A day later, the subjects were again shown images—some new, some old, and some altered.

The caffeine group was about 10% better at pointing out the altered images. "What I've taken from this is that I should keep drinking my coffee," a researcher says. "Our study suggests there's a real learning and memory benefit." But Gizmodo notes that there's a "sweet spot" of about two espressos—higher and lower doses of caffeine showed lesser effects. Some outside experts raised doubts, citing, for instance, the study's small size. But if coffee isn't so helpful, other researchers have raised hope with a series of brain exercises. In history's biggest cognitive-training study, some 3,000 older adults were given three different training programs involving memory, reasoning, and processing speed. A decade later, some benefits were still visible. Reuters has more.

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
Jan 15, 2014 3:00 PM CST
Here's the study's flaw: ALL the subjects REGULARLY take coffee, and are in withdrawal before HALF get the real caffeine pill. They DID NOT take people who were NOT REGULAR COFFEE DRINKERS or people who NEVER use caffeine. All they are proving here is that people who have their normal amount of caffeine perform better than those that are in caffeine withdrawal. Try again! I suspect that people who NEVER touch the stuff will do better than both groups!
Jan 14, 2014 9:54 PM CST
Drink up, everyone. Drink up. Never sleep, never forget...
Jan 14, 2014 11:48 AM CST
Next week, pizza will cure cancer and the week after that soda will help you lose weight. You have to hand it to these journalists, they keep you clicking for more.