Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists have reported that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory. Their research, published by the journalNature Neuroscience, shows that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed. Another reason to buy stock in Starbucks!!!
Yassda has been quoted as saying, “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…We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours.”
According to an article by Latarsha Gatlin,
The Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a double-blind trial in which participants who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products received either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet five minutes after studying a series of images. Salivary samples were taken from the participants before they took the tablets to measure their caffeine levels. Samples were taken again one, three, and 24 hours afterwards.
The next day, both groups were tested on their ability to recognize images from the previous day’s study session. On the test, some of the visuals were the same as those from the day before, some were new additions, and some were similar but not the same.
More members of the caffeine group were able to correctly identify the new images as “similar” to previously viewed images rather than erroneously citing them as the same.
Researchers concluded the brain’s ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items, called pattern separation, reflected a deeper level of memory retention.
The lead author of the paper is Daniel Borota, an undergraduate student in Yassa’s lab who received a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award from Johns Hopkins to conduct the study.