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Experiment Shows Caffeine Boosts Long Term Memory 123

An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins has published results demonstrating that caffeine seems to boost long-term memory. In a double-blind study, participants were shown a series of images soon after taking either a caffeine pill or a placebo; 24 hours later they were tested on a similar, but not identical, series of images. Those who took the caffeine pill were more likely to correctly classify images as being different, identical, or similar to those seen the previous day; researchers refer to this as a 'pattern separation' test. The beneficial effect of caffeine on the long-term memory of honey bees was covered by Slashdot earlier."
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Experiment Shows Caffeine Boosts Long Term Memory

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @10:13AM (#45938759)

    So the article costs $32 to read. It begs the question, what are they hiding?

    Most likely nothing. Yes, they could have submitted it to an open-access journal, but when you've a shot at getting something into Nature Neuroscience then most authors will go for it because, bottom line and right or wrong, it's what Universities and Institutions often look at when deciding who to hire and who to fire.

    Besides, if you wanted to hide something why would you hide it behind a paywall which a large proprotion of research insititutes probably have access to? You're basically advertising your secrets to anyone who is knowledgeable in the field and has a research job.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @10:47AM (#45939087)

    Yes, the long-term memory system is used for everything older than a few minutes. They're different functional units of the brain. Maybe if you had a longer attention span you could've looked up what "long-term memory" means and figured that out for yourself? Maybe learned something?

  • Same old... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ccanucs ( 2529272 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:32AM (#45939613)

    Coffee's bad for you ....

    Coffee's good for you ....

    Coffee's bad for you ....

    Coffee's good for you ....

    Same old.... (as far as I recall :-) )

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:37AM (#45939675)

    Seeing as how I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid, I can certainly say that Caffeine and many other stimulants tend to work bass-ackwards on me by putting me to sleep.

    For those interested, look up how/what Ritalin is and what it was approved for, which isn't ADHD

  • by TAiNiUM ( 66843 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:42AM (#45939757)

    No, it does not help recollection. It helps to form and store the information.

    ie, drink cafeine when you study to store the information. Drinking caffeine during the test won't increase recollection though it will help focus.

  • by LeDopore ( 898286 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:54AM (#45939903) Homepage Journal

    I have a PhD in sensory neuroscience from UC Berkeley. It could be the effect mentioned in TFA is sensory, not memorization.

    Caffeine is known to increase acetylcholine release. Acetylcholine makes your brain pay more attention to here-and-now details than to its internal model of what's going on.

    I'm also dubious about the idea that any one, simple chemical can ever make you smarter in any general way without adverse consequences. Evolution has a lot of time to scope out all simple neurochemical effects, so beware studies that suggest they've found a "smart pill". Sure, it's possible to take a drug to make you better at one specific task to the detriment of some others, but the idea that there is any simple cognitive enhancing substance would imply either "evolution couldn't mimic the effect of this substance on the brain" or "cognitive enhancement isn't an evolutionary good move". Neither seems very likely.

  • Re:Coffeine (Score:4, Informative)

    by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:00PM (#45940675)
    You left out the obvious "wine".

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"