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Surprise — Caffeine boosts brain activity

December 1, 2005

From the “well duh!” department this morning, this just in from a group of Austrian researchers…

Apparently functional magnetic resonance imaging scans performed on the brains of 15 subjects who had just consumed caffeine equal to that found in two cups of coffee, showed increased activity in the frontal lobe where the working memory is located, and in the anterior cingulum that controls attention.

Dr. Florian Koppelstatter of the Medical University Innsbruck says they were able to see from the scans that caffeine exerted increased neuronal activity in distinct parts of the brain along with changes in behaviour.

The study participants who were subjected to a 12-hour period without caffeine and a four-hour period without nicotine, another recognized stimulant found in cigarettes, were apparently better able to remember a sequence of letters after consuming 100 milligrams of caffeine, and their reaction times on short-term memory tests also improved.

After twelve hours without caffeine and four hours without a smoke break, I’m guessing that their crankiness level increased considerably more than their short term memory skills…

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