Feeds

Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Nurse, bring the caffeine drip, stat!

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

That staple of the IT industry everywhere, caffeine, is an aid to long-term memory, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

In their study (abstract in Nature Neuroscience here), the researchers claim that theirs is the first study to demonstrate that caffeine has a direct impact on long-term memory.

The researchers used image recall as the basis of their work. As assistant professor of neurobiology and behaviour from the university Michael Yassa explained to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's AM program:

“We showed them pictures on a computer screen and we asked them to make a simple decision whether these pictures were indoor pictures or outdoor pictures. It didn't really matter what the picture was or what they said, we just wanted to get them engaged in a task and sort of encode these images.

“We wanted them to learn these images without actually telling them it is going to be a memory test afterwards and then we either gave them a caffeine pill, 200 milligrams of caffeine, or a placebo and we sent them on their merry way.”

The researchers then gave their subjects a “surprise test” the next day. The two groups were tested on their recall of images from the first test. As the university's release states, “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.”

The university says the “pattern separation” aspect of the test – using new images that nearly matched images from the first test – provided confirmation of the caffeine effect.

This study goes against the grain, in as much as previous studies have failed to identify a memory boost from caffeine. The researchers claim their study design has helped them make their discovery.

“Almost all prior studies administered caffeine before the study session, so if there is an enhancement, it's not clear if it's due to caffeine's effects on attention, vigilance, focus, or other factors,” Yassa said. “By administering caffeine after the experiment, we rule out all of these effects and make sure that if there is an enhancement, it's due to memory and nothing else.”

In other coffee-related good news, the most recent science on the stuff debunks the dearly-held myth that coffee causes dehydration. As explained at The Conversation here, a study in PLOSE ONE finds the diuretic effects of caffeine are less than the amount of water you drink with moderate coffee consumption. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.