Why Does Coffee Improve Memory?

Everyone knows that coffee help us wake up in the morning and keeping during a long day. What is also the case is that coffee can help your memory. The easy part is that if you are more awake you will pay attention better and are more likely to remember things. But, does coffee help long term memory? Medical News Today comments on coffee and women’s risk of dementia.

Researchers have long suggested that caffeine – a mild stimulant present in coffee, tea, and cola – has cognitive benefits.

A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience in 2014, for example, identified a link between coffee intake and improved long-term memory.

The new findings – recently published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences – offer further evidence of caffeine’s brain benefits, after finding the stimulant may help to stave off cognitive decline in later life.

Here is the older study first of all. The quoted article is from Nature Neuroscience, 17, 201-203 (2014) and is titled Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans.

It is currently not known whether caffeine has an enhancing effect on long-term memory in humans. We used post-study caffeine administration to test its effect on memory consolidation using a behavioral discrimination task. Caffeine enhanced performance 24 h after administration according to an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve; this effect was specific to consolidation and not retrieval. We conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.

So, there is measurable proof that long term memory is improved with coffee. What the later study reported in MNT shows is that long term coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of dementia.

During up to 10 years of follow-up, all subjects underwent annual cognitive assessments, which the researchers analyzed to pinpoint a diagnosis of probable dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment. A total of 388 women received such diagnoses.

Compared with women who consumed a low amount of caffeine (defined in the study as less than 64 milligrams daily), those who consumed a higher amount (more than 261 milligrams daily) were found to be at 36 percent reduced risk of a diagnosis of probable dementia or cognitive impairment.

The researchers note that 261 milligrams of caffeine is the equivalent of two to three 8-ounce cups of coffee daily, or five to six 8-ounce cups of black tea.

Why does coffee improve memory? When asked by this seems to work the lead researcher talked about possible underlying mechanisms.

“The potential protective effect of caffeine is thought to occur primarily through the blockade of adenosine A2A receptors (ARs), whose expression and function become aberrant with both normal aging and age-related pathology.”

In other words drinking coffee slows down or reverses an effect of aging! This is just another example of the health aspects of coffee. Antioxidants in coffee are good for you and caffeine by itself is helpful in preventing depression and reducing the risk of suicide. Now you can drink your java with the firm knowledge that coffee improves your memory now and for years to come.

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