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Caffeine Good For Long-Term Memory 222

Keith Gabryelski writes "an article entitled "Caffeine Causes Changes In Brain Cells" at Planet Rx " So it makes your brain get bigger while it makes your testicles get smaller. I guess that proves that matter can't be created or destroyed.
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Caffeine Good For Long-Term Memory

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  • Lumps?!!!

    Crap, I just brewed a pot of Swiss Chocolate Almond, and now I'm feeling myself for lumps.

    Wanna know the mystical secrets of caffiene? Come check out JavaScopes [holophrastic.com].

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • It's ESPRESSO, not expresso. Expresso isn't even a real drink. Get it right!


    (Hmmm. Maybe I've had one too many cuppacinos....)
  • With all this research into the beneficial nature of caffeine, I'm surprised that the vitamin nuts haven't gone all bozo. Every time someone announces a study that shows that some off-the-shelf drug store quackery is good at something-or-other, about 50 people write full length novels on the wonders of the stuff, GNC turns a tidy profit, and Michael Jordan does TV spots hawking the extra-overpriced blister pack'd brand.

    I'm glad this hasn't been the fate of caffeine. It keeps me awake and that's all I ask. But it doesn't stop there. Through the magik of Slashdot, I found out that not only does it increase my tolerance to ionizing radiation, but it makes me smarter.

    Good timing, guys. I have an exam at 4pm and I'm cramming now. To the coffee stand for a double latte!
  • The second derivative of f(x) is:18x-sinx*cot4x-5 +2cosx*(-4-4cot(4x-5)^2-8sinx*cot4x-5*-4-4cot(4x-5 )^2
  • It said that the results were inconclusive, and that more research needs to be done.


    The only tempting thing it did say was that it lengthened the dendrites, but... is that good or bad? it also said the dendrites collapse if grown too quickly. ooopps.
  • oz, gallon, doublequart.....

    WHEN will you guys learn how to use SI [www.bipm.fr], just as the rest of the world (Europe!)

    FWIW, I drink 2 litres of coffee a day.
  • > so what does it matter if I can remember their names or not?

    And what does it matter what their names are when they don't come when you call for them, anyway
  • My comment is off-topic, yet the poster I was replying to wasn't? I was continuing the thread, for crying out loud!

    If I had said something like "Drink Pepsi, instead - you moron!", that would have been off-topic. However, what I did was give a solution to another's problem - that of getting caffiene in milk.

    Maybe I should have mentioned the word caffiene? Would that have saved it?

    I swear, many times I think moderators just have way too many points and not enough time on thier hands (that, and I think there is some kind of conspiracy against me to not be moderated up, for whatever reason).

    Watch, this will be moderated down to "off-topic" - at least I can agree with that, though!
  • I don't know if I'm a genetic freak or what, but caffeine really doesn't have a noticeable effect on me at all.

    I do notice, that if I go an entire day without having any, I'll get a headache at about 3 p.m. so I generally will have at least one coke with lunch or something.

    Yes, I know this is a sign of addiction. :)

    However, it never makes me feel "wired" and I don't feel tired if I don't have it. I can drink a liter of Pepsi and go straight to bed with no trouble, either. I don't consume an abnormally large amount either, during a typical day, I'll probably have 2 cans of Coke/Pepsi at work, and maybe another one with lunch, that's it. It doesn't bother me to have none during the day, if anything, the sugar in a non-caffeinated soda makes me feel just as good as a caffeinated one.

    If it matters, I'm fairly "resistant" to most drugs I've used. I rarely get hangovers, I recover from general anesthesia very quickly with no sickness, and my dentist now uses nitrous oxide on me because the novocaine doesn't numb me.

    The real downside is that I usually wind up taking about twice the "reccomended" dosage of any over-the-counter drug, so it actually has some effect on me.

    To put this back on topic, is there anyone else who doesn't get any kick from caffeine? Even Vivarin or those bizarre guarana drinks don't do much to affect me either way.
  • But let's start explaining the intricacies(sp?) of quantum physiscs or paleantology and I'm there.

    I'm as far as Tao of Pooh and The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Zukav), Gödel, Escher, Bach,
    Fermat's Enigma (Singh)...
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @10:54AM (#1616167) Homepage Journal

    So [caffeine] makes your brain get bigger while it makes your testicles get smaller.

    What about girls?

    Girls make your brain get smaller and certain other parts get bigger.

    And after a withdrawal and recovery period, the brain grows back a little, and we suddenly wonder: "What the hell was I thinking?!" We utter oaths to forsake them forever, but it is just as empty a bluff as you'll hear from a recoving heroin or nicotine addict.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @11:03AM (#1616168)
    Studies have also shown that when you learn while affected by a mind-altering substance, you remember those things better when also on that same substance. (The study I read was actually conducted with caffeine as the substance, and it was from a suitemate's psychology book, im afraid I cant get the name of it). So... If you have an early class and always drink a cup of coffee while there, you better have one when you take the final, even if its at 2 in the afternoon.
  • If we are going to raise the issue of matter versus energy, can any of you actually tell me what matter and energy are? Can you proove to me that they do not consist of the same "stuff" or that this stuff is anything? I am inviting spam here, but unless I am mistaken (and I will consult the king of all experts on the subject if this gets responded to) YOU ARE ALL FULL OF IT, and have no idea what you are talking about. If we were talking about cars and airplanes, and calling them matter and energy, and we took apart the airplane, and the car, mixed up the parts, and built some new contraptions (which could perform the same tasks as the original car and airplane) would this ilucidate the issue a little better for you? Matter, energy... what do these words mean? What makes you think any of it WANTS TO BE DESTROYED??
  • One of the first wisdoms I learned about programmers was:
    Progammers are species, which makes code out of coffee.
  • 2L is just under a half gallon. That's like 21 inch monitors with 19.2" viewable. It just sucks.

    "My car gets 1,300 furlongs per firkin of gas..."
  • it is now. it used to be free -- no longer tho. some old copies are still floating around - download while you can.
  • At a previous super bowl party about 5 years ago I had 25 cans of pepsi in about a 6 hour timespan another guy that was there had 23. Needless to say I didn't sleep well that night.
  • Hmm.. Caffeine Good For Long-Term Memory ?
    That's funny, because according to the article: "The implications for long-term memory and learning are not yet clear." Interjecting your bias into a story like this might seem trivial and make for a good shrinking testical joke, but it's very bad journalism.
  • Oh well, 'nother warez session ;-). Anybody got an url for the old version?
  • Cmdr. Taco is reporting his personal experience with caffeine, YMMV
  • by dkh2 ( 29130 ) <dkh2&WhyDoMyTitsItch,com> on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @07:29AM (#1616178) Homepage
    It's all in the balance of neurotransmitters. Being profoundly ADHD and having mastered my condition has lead to a lot of insight into what I can do to keep myself from driving everyone around me bonkers. Caffeine and other stimulants trigger the release of neurotransmitter regulators. These regulators have mainly to do with the reuptake of serotonin and dopamine (among other compounds). Exercise, diet, and meditation can play a very large part in the "normalization" of the ADD/ADHD person.

    For the ADD/ADHD person the non-standard (not sub-standard) levels of these are seen through inability to focus and/or inappropriate behavior. Generally 4 approaches are used to "normalize" the person's existence. (1) medication (perferably short term) to provide the chemical support while other coping skills are acquired, (2, 3) adjustments to exercise and dietary routines, and (3) basic meditation skills. (Read up on things like trancendentalism and shamanism. These will not attempt to replace your preferred religeous system but will make your experience of it more meaningful to you.)

    Still, nothing beats going off your meds for a weekend of rock concerts and video games!


  • by vr ( 9777 )
    ..makes your testicles get smaller.

    This can't be good. I think I'll stop drinking coffeinated beverages until I have children.
    .. although it would be nice with a larger brain. Hmm..
    *sigh* What a difficult choice..
  • >So it makes your brain get bigger while it makes your testicles get smaller.

    It'd be interesting to see what everyone would choose if they had to pick one or the other. Rob- How about a poll?

  • Nothing helps you through one of those monster 30-hour CS projects like a big 64oz sitting on your desk! I don't know if it was the caffeine helping me concentrate or the fact that I had to stop every hour to take a piss, but I did find a correlation between the number of doublequarts I went through and my resulting grade on the project. For the record, my record was 192 oz in 25 hours; if anyone else has beaten that I'd like to hear about it. 8}
  • I suppose then, if you're like me, and you program alot, and you drink alot of coffee, and you don't want children, that everything will work out just fine. Several pots of coffee a day keeps everything working smoothly. For instance, I know for a fact that one of my most festering bugs in my older tcp socket setups is in line 562 of con_build.c ....now, if I could just remember how I was told to properly fix it, I could knock out about 25 lines of error checking code. Of course, then I wouldn't be able to remember what line the bug was on, cause it would change, and then I'd just be lost all over again huh? Oh well, I don't suppose I'll ever pick up any women sitting in front of this computer anyhow, so what does it matter if I can remember thier names or not?
  • ... but what if you're a chick?


    Child: Mommy, where do .sig files go when they die?
    Mother: HELL! Straight to hell!
    I've never been the same since.

  • Symptoms, no; they're different disorders (although they are differential diagnoses of each other).

    What has been suggested quite recently in clinical research is that ADHD/ADD as a child or juvenile increases the risk of developing bipolar disorder later in life (bear in mind that the average time of diagnosis for bipolar disorder is in one's late 20's).

    One could make arguments as to whether there is a shared cause or that the former causes the latter through some biochemical or even through a social mechanism. Nobody knows what causes either ADD/ADHD or bipolar disorder; it's even possible that there are multiple possible causes producing the same symptomology.

    I used to favour the explanation that there was a genetic component to all cases of bipolar disorder; however, right now I would have to demur. Perhaps someone on /. does research in this field; I'm merely an educated layperson.

  • It helps your long term memory, it protects you from radiation! It's the wonder drug that works wonders! It makes the little problem with the little things seem pretty much insignificant, does't it?
  • I wonder how caffeine should then theoretically affect depressives. Since biological depression is related to excessive reuptake of serotonin, I would imagine that there should be some sort of effect, although perhaps its either too minimal or too long-term to be noticeable.
  • my record was 192 oz in 25 hours; if anyone else has beaten that I'd like to hear about it.

    288oz of Surge in 24 hours. Dunno how that stacks up to 192 of coffee ( assume that's what you were chugging) but I got you beat for pure volume.


  • Americans should be geniuses when it comes to recall!!! I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but in the ingredients to regular pepsi, caffiene actully comes before the flavoring. I shouln't ever forget anything, ever, mwahaha.

    They are, it's jut misused. Find an average american teen, ask them the plot of 90210 (or whatever the latest lame teen drama is) from the first episode on. You get a perfect replay. Pick a sports guy, ask them the batting average of every american league player in 1983, no problem. Americans remember all kinds of arcane things.

  • However, it never makes me feel "wired" and I don't feel tired if I don't have it. I can drink a liter of Pepsi and go straight to bed with no trouble, either. I don't consume an abnormally large amount either, during a typical day, I'll probably have 2 cans of Coke/Pepsi at work, and maybe another one with lunch, that's it. It doesn't bother me to have none during the day, if anything, the sugar in a non-caffeinated soda makes me feel just as good as a caffeinated one.

    This happens to me on a 6 month cycle. So I go off caffeine, drink nothing but water for a month, and then get back on caffeine. BLAMMO! One can of surge will wire me all weekend!!!
    Caffeine is THE most tolerable drug, to better phrase that, most people will build up a huge tolerance to caffeine very quickly, hence needing more and more for the same affect. So cyclicle intake can reduce the amount of caffeine you need to get a buzz.

  • well, excuuuuuuuse me! a 64 oz doublequart is a half gallon. hope that satisfies your inablity to convert to SI

  • "If a man is alone in the forest and says something and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

    Let me check with my girlfriend and get back to you on that.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @07:06AM (#1616194) Homepage Journal
    For a substance that's supposed to be benign, it certainly does a lot. As well as whatever this lot are claiming, it puts ADHD people to sleep (it works in reverse for them), it triggers severe mood swings in Bipolar folk, and it deludes Urban Legend people into thinking Coke contains, well, coke. :)
  • by handorf ( 29768 ) on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @07:07AM (#1616196)
    which is why I know why the Titanic's center propeller was smaller, and the difference between soldering, brazing and welding, and the maximum theoretical efficiency for a heat engine, and...

    Now... Where'd I leave my keys?
  • G'day folks... well, to answer your question, my doctor tells me that mental disorders, such as ADHD, manic depression, etc., are passed on through heredity...whether that's entirely true or not, I am not sure...I figured I'd toss that into the ring...take care folks! :) John D. Lewis
  • I have a horrible memory, but I've got huge, uh... er... what was I saying?

  • This explains the popularity with strong caffine among geeks I guess :)
    what about alchahol? The best code is always written when drunk or sleep deprived buzzing on caffine, so I guess we'll find a similar study on alchahol some time in the future. Or perhaps its already been done and just been repressed by the government. 10:1 they never teach anyone this nifty fact about caffine in schools.
  • No, that's short-term memory.
  • So it makes your brain get bigger while it makes your testicles get smaller.

    Those that think with the wrong head should drink more coffee. 8-)

  • p.s.Remedial calculus is not trivial... It's useless...

    Obviously not, since the derivative of the derivative is simply a second order derivative, or
    f"(x) where f(x) = ((3x^3)+sin(x))cot(4x-5)), rather than that clumsy nested notation ;)
    All hail Discordia!
  • Well...from what I have heard...if you study on caffeine (ie: all that jolt *yummy*), then you won't remeber a damned thing if your not 'on' caffeine when you need to remeber it. This is due to the 'association' factor the brain uses when learning/making new neural pathways..so lesson is: drink lots of caffeine while studying and then chug a case of jolt right 'for the test :) and like the article said...effects on long term memory are uncertain as yet :)
  • What about girls?
  • Then I'm guessing that ADD/ADHD people (like me) have some really wierd brain chemistry, because Ritilin, which allows me to concentrate, is actually Methylphenidate, which is a close relative of speed.
    So caffine knocks me out, and speed calms me down. Could someone please explain this to me?
  • women are allowed to defy physics :)
  • "adding caffeine to the cells raised the level of calcium inside them, causing them to grow about 33% in size" So, can I compound this over time and over multiple instances of Caffeine intake... maybe I should start drinking 2 cases of dew a week?
  • by georgeha ( 43752 ) on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @07:36AM (#1616212) Homepage
    I guess this explains the retention of memories in the face of my extreme cannabis intake...

    I thought loss of short term memory with cannabis was more of a myth. In fact, I almost think I remember reading it one night on the web, I can't remember the url, but the top graphic was nearly the same color as a lucite bong I used to use.

  • Americans should be geniuses when it comes to recall!!! I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but in the ingredients to regular pepsi, caffiene actully comes before the flavoring. I shouln't ever forget anything, ever, mwahaha.
  • Not freaky, just different.

    Imagine your system board working at 200MHz and your video working at 166MHz. You get skips and jumps in the video due to the difference. Give the system more to do with those extra cycles and everything settles down for a nice user experience.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    I see this as a win-win situation for females...

    Well, everyone complains that there aren't enough women in techie fields, well Mtn. Dew and coffee is slowly converting male techies into women so that shouldn't be a problem any longer!

    Not only does it shrink the male specific organs but it increases brain size? That's two steps closer to being female!


    (Really, I'm not trying to be a troll here...)

  • The only free X Server for Windows NT I found is
    MI/X and it's quite good actually. Here's a bit of
    the FAQ:

    This document is available in text-only format as well:
    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Q: Is MI/X really free?

    A: Yes. No strings attached. MicroImages does retain a copyright on
    it, however.

    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Q: Why is it really free?

    A: MicroImages gains name recognition and good will. MicroImages
    maintains MI/X as the X Server for its professional TNT image
    processing, geospatial data management, and desktop cartography
    products. In order to make the TNT products work exactly the same on
    all Windows, Macintosh and UNIX computers, MicroImages needed a
    robust and stable X Server whose future was not in the hands of some
    other company. (MicroImages also enjoys the irony that some ARC/INFO
    users will run our competitor's product on our free X Server.)

    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Q: How can I get a copy of MI/X?

    A: You can download it from MicroImages' FTP site, or from mirror
    The URL to download MI/X from MicroImages' FTP site in Lincoln, NE
    U.S.A. is:
    ftp://ftp.microimages.com:4021/pub/mix/mix68k.sit. hqx (for MacOs
    ftp://ftp.microimages.com:4021/pub/mix/mixppc.sit. hqx (for MacOS
    --> http://www.microimages.com in the "Free Stuff" section.
    Currently, MicroImages has an Australasian mirror for the MacOS
    files only. You can download MI/X from this mirror with the two
    following URLs:
    ftp://ftp.unsw.edu.au/pub/mac/comm/microimages-x-s erver-ppc.hqx
    ftp://ftp.unsw.edu.au/pub/mac/comm/microimages-x-s erver-68k.hqx
  • This is what the Lavazza [lavazza.com] website has to say about the two:

    Coffea Arabica. This African species has been cultivated for many centuries. It grows on mineral-rich soil above an altitude of 600 m. and needs a constant temperature of 20 C; it produces long blue-green beans. The main organoleptic qualities are a markedly acid yet sweet taste, limited body and an intense aroma. It is the most widely cultivated of all beans (70% of world production).

    Coffea Robusta. This variety gives an abundant harvest and can be cultivated in the plains, it has good resistance to disease and grows even in difficult conditions. The beans are small and round with a brownish-yellow colour. Originally from the Congo basin, it is widely cultivated in Africa and Asia and is distinguished by its full body and "chocolate" sweetness.

    I tend to go for the Lavazza Espresso blend, because I really like the aroma, but I don't have a real espresso machine in my office... yet :-) I think I'll have to wait to be a post-doc for that ;-)

    So whether it protects from radiation, improves your memory, or protects you against prostate cancer, who cares????

    Coffee smells good, it tastes good and if you really appreciate it, you will certainly drink it black, grind your beans yourself, and keep your coffee in the fridge :-)

    I'm a geek alright, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate good coffee!


  • You just described me...

    errr...so maybe she's right when she says I'm cranky and short-tempered...
  • .. and I can find the derivative of the derivative of f(x)=((3x^3)+sin(x))*cox(4x-5), and I know why Darth Vader wears his bio-suit, and I know "for whom the bell tolls," and...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not quite a legend as it used to contain coke. I've even an old advertisement for coke containing pills, meant to keep one up and running, but times have changed.
  • lets not get into an arguement about semantics here... that is the notation you use... It's all about style. Just like coding
  • Ohhh... So my body might be correct on this one. - RTS/RET
  • We might have to define the term 'coffee' first.
    If you drink an espresso, only coffee parts that easily resolve in water will land in your cup. You can sleep like a rabbit (same about rutting) even after one or two espressos.
    OTOH, what comes out of a percolator and sits for hours on end in that jug in your favourite mouth water hole contains about all what's in that bean, friend and foe. It's especially the stuff that takes a long time to resolve in that hot water that will hurt you. Same is true for the brown soda usually referred to as cola. (no affiliations whatsoever).
    Hint: Stay away from those brown waters (be they hot or ice cold) and have a good strong espresso from time to time (spoon must stand stuck in the cup!). And avoid vending machines; usually you ingest more preservatives (NOT the rubber ones) than what you initially made you grab out that dollar bill for.
    If you head for a head-bangin' dose of caffeine, get some caffeine pills (aka "astronaut's coffee")
    Re Guarana - it is no caffeine but has about the same effect. So does tea.

    If thirsty, drink (plain, and, more important, unsweetened (neither sugar nor nutrasweet)) water. If you need a kick, have an espresso or ask your boss/wife/husband/donkey (underline where appropriate)

  • by Uart ( 29577 )
    Matter can be destroyed, According to the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy, Matter can be destroyed in Nuclear Reactions, but it is converted to an equivalent amount of energy, and Vice Versa. E=mc^2, anyone?
  • ... according to one of the newspapers I read, I think it was The Weekly Planet (which I admit, is a little out there at times... but I'm not refering to one of those grocery store tabloids but rather to one of those "strange politics" free papers you find on college campuses.)

    I think that this is probably true (the aphrodisiac part... why else give chocolate to your sweetie instead of, say, skittles? Or hard candy? What makes chocolate the candy of romance?)... so the big question is, is it the caffein in chocolate that acts as the aphrodisiac or one of the other ingredients. In that case, does it mean that your testicles are getting smaller due to over hormone production. (of course, I only believe things that improve the reputation of cocoa... so I don't believe the part about it decreasing testicle size. Chocolate, my one true God... did you know that the Aztecs only let their priests drink it... at least, I think that's what I remember from the Hershey park tour...)

    As a hardcore Nestle Quick addict (now called, ugh, NesQuick... I guess to make the name sound more Soylent Greenish) I'm curoius. I'm not planning to stop drinking the rabbit bedecked powder though... either way. (Like I said, I'm an addict... I've tried to quit already just for the weight loss benefits...)

    Hrmm... I feel... thirsty.......@.@

  • Wow.. I drink at least three cups of coffee a day, along with 3-4 cans of Coca Cola. I eat like a horse. I HAVE to eat breakfast, or else I'm starving by 11:30 AM. Even with breakfast, I must eat a full sized lunch or by 6 PM, my stomach growls so loudly it's louder than my voice! And I've been doing this for most of ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H all of my adult life.
  • I c-c-can f-f-feelmymemory improving already-ready!!

    super-super-humandosesof p-p-pure brainjuice! Ifitake just a a a littlebit m-more i think illhavetelekinetic p-p-powers!!

  • Which brings us to:

    If a man is alone in a forest and says something, is he still wrong?
  • With apologies to Frank Herbert...

    "It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion,
    it is by the beans of java the thoughts acquire speed,
    the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning,
    it is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion."

  • Well, based on responses to somewhat recent stories about brain restoration, brain growth, cybernetics, wearable computers, etc. I expect about 28.21% of Slashdot readers will be intelligent, impotent--and maybe even immortal--cyborgs that never forget anything. :) Gosh that would be fun. :)
  • I would like to know to. I take calcium supplements, because, among other reasons, I drink a lot of coffee. Does this mean I am going to inadvertently cause my brain to implode or explode?
  • Interesting findings about the various sizes of body parts, but I have another problem with caffiene. I was recently diagnosed with multible hernias and ulcers in my asaphogus caused, among other things, by the over use of caffiene (which contributes to acid reflux disease). No. 20 cups of coffee and seven cokes a day is NOT a good thing for the body. I am now at a greater risk of throat cancer. I am currently on prescription medicine and I must limit my caffiene intake (a serious lifestyle change for someone as addicted as I was).

    Just wanted to let you all know... considering how geeks are known for their caffiene habits. This might happen to someone else out there.

    By the way, I have heard that caffiene from Gurana (i.e. Bawls) does not have this affect. Can anyone confirm?
  • You forgot a couple...

    Beware the Jabberwock, and nevermind the womraths. (The womraths outgrabe.)


  • Bipolar disorder does appear to be genetic. It's certainly hereditary--one of the better established hereditary mental illnesses, in fact--and children of bipolar parents who are later adopted by normals have almost the same incidence of the disease as those who aren't. (That sentence was a bit convoluted....) This implies, rather strongly, that it is genetic, though I could be creative and come up with other explanations.

    AFAIK, it's fairly strictly genetic, as well. The diagnostic requirements place environmentally-induced disorders (eg, bipolar due to head-trauma or stress) in a different category, so true Bipolar I/II should be entirely genetic, though the extreme variation in responses to drugs implies that it's either (i) very complex, genetically, or (ii) has a genetic trigger, but is not itself genetic.

    (For some reason, this post sucked. I shouldn't try to write just after getting up.)
  • ...but I'm willing to give up a little testicle here and there for increased brainpower. Hell, I'll probably never use 'em anyway...
  • I've posted this before and I'll post it again!

    Caffine is: The Mind Enhancing Drug !!!

    - // Zarf //
  • by cweber ( 34166 ) <cwebersdNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @03:30PM (#1616245)
    Keep in kind that PNAS, the journal this article appeared in, is NOT peer reviewed. Articles can be submitted by members of the National Academy of Sciences, and they can be their own, or they can be submitted on behalf of others. In either case, NAS members vouch for the top quality fo the submitted material. However, some complete junk has appeared in PNAS voer the years, despite the journal's generally high status.

    Also, keep in mind that a single publication doesn't make - much less represents - generally held scientific opinion.

    But I see that you all are having great fun with some more mundane implications of the article (or rather with the introductory text to it) and aren't overly concerned about its validity in the first place.

  • Sorry, there, but that's "mome raths", not womraths. A quick google search for "Jabberwocky" reveals the truth. No womraths present at all; it is the mome raths who outgrabe.

    Now, if only I could find myself a vorpal sword (which is really a lot like a regular sword, except it goes "snicker-snack!") and make myself more manxome.

  • It's a young geek thing... :)

  • "they suggest that a modest, temporary rise in calcium levels results in growth and proliferation of these important brain cells, while a larger and more prolonged rise causes the cells to collapse."

    So, I guess if you drink a lot of caffeine you won't be remembering too much, hmm?

  • This article does not say that the increase in size or density of dendrites has any effect on memory. It appears to have been inferred by readers from the statement:

    "scientists have assumed that changes in the size and shape of these dendritic spines are related to long-term memory, but there has not been any experimental evidence to prove this association."

    Even if we forego the lack of experimental evidence, nowhere does it imply that an increase in size or density relates to long-term memory. It only says that a change in size and shape is related.

    does increase in size = better long term memory? There is some evidence that chemicals used to increase the size and number of dendrites in a rat's brain have changed a rat's behavior when presented with a new object to explore versus control rats. I saw the oh so non-technical report on one of the network news broadcasts. The scientists claim that this was due to an increase in the rat's ability to remember that the other objects in the cage were already explored. I saw no evidence in the brief news story to suggest that memory had anything to do with the new behavior. My devious mind began to think of other reasons for the new behavior. What if it had actualy affected thier ability to filter out their own smell and once the old object had been explored by them and other rats it had an objectionable odor to them? just one possiblity.

    There are many questions this article raise and it answers only one question: What does the direct application of caffine on nerve cells do?: it causes them to release calcium and grow. Much more research is required.

    In the meantime I will replace my intravenious caffine drip with a intracraneal drip and find out what I can.

  • Although this is off-topic (dunno how it got posted here), I'm glad to hear it because I've been looking for one!
  • I think proliferation of dendrites would make the synaptic response more efficient. Any particular axon will only synapse with one neuron, and since proliferation only occurs where there are already dendrites, I don't think the neurotransmitter would be diluted in the way you say. Each new dendrite is still part of the same neuron. The increase of efficiency only occurs, of course, only if these new dendrites have all the proper receptors at the same density as the old ones have. This would increase the number of available receptors, and therefore increase the chance that neurotransmitters will bind at the same time, making it more likely that an action potential will occur.

    Of course, this still doesn't prove that it has anything to do with memory, and I don't know if I like the other effects of caffeine, like causing muscle tremor and the fact that it has been proven to damage DNA.

  • Yeah...I think and design best when I'm on caffeine...but I /code/ best with headphones and some good music (Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots are my favorite coding music). It distracts the fidgety part of my mind so I don't wander off and start designing all sorts of other stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sorry, I disagree.

    Sure caffeine causes mood swings in me,
    just like it does for anyone else.
    It doesnt cause mania for me (sorry if you
    werent trying to imply that)
    To those on the outside, I may appear manic
    when I drink caffeine.

    However, on a caffeine 'high' I can go into my room and write code for hours, and actually be
    productive. I cant even accomplish much
    on my job without caffeine, its sort of my antidote to the side effects of the prescribed
    medicines I take (which make me have zero energy,
    zero persistence, ...)

    I can't produce anything on a manic high, hell I cant even remember what I did the day before. I have spent enough time in my life in
    very unpleasant places related to my manic episodes, that I surely wouldnt drink caffeine
    if it would make me go manic.
  • drunk_funk() {
    // do later
  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @08:44AM (#1616263) Homepage Journal
    Crap, I just brewed a pot of Swiss Chocolate Almond, and now I'm feeling myself for lumps.

    At this very moment, half the geeks in the world are headed your way to sample the Swiss Chocolate Almond, while the other half offer to assist in the 'lump search.'

    Better brew another pot. ^_^


  • If caffiene can aid long-term memory, and nutrasweet can inhibit short-term memory, where does that leave Diet Coke?

    Am I doomed to remember every School House Rock song, but never know what I had for breakfast this morning?

  • I believe that the reason ritilin works is because it stimulates the reticular formation in your brain. The reticular formation is the portion of your brain that keeps you alert and attentive. People with ADHD have trouble doing these things. The ritilin stimulates this portion of the brain, and therefor people with ADHD can keep attentive better.
  • Caffeine is very dear to me.

    But it should be treated like medicine.

    I take one thermos of very very strong coffee and when I start to feel my eyes get heavy (which will happen all day for me even on a good night's sleep) I take about an ounce of the stuff. I do this all day and I get a lot of mileage out of more or less four cups of coffee. Then I don't feel wired when it's time for me to sleep.

    I'm a full proponent of meditation as well; when you find it difficult to sleep lay flat on your bed w/o a pillow and repeat a one syllable word in your head. Time the word with your breath so that you finish mentally speaking the word when you fully exhale. As you inhale repeat the word. Try to make your inhalations and exhalations last about 15 secs. Increase of some months to 30. As thoughts arise in your mind simply amuse yourself as you watch them flash like on a screen and then turn your attention back to the word you are repeating. In the morning you should do some head rotations and spine stretching exercises to release any tensions that affect the central nervous system.

    Also when I have a lot of reading to do, sometimes in addition to the coffee, playing a game or two of xbat or galaga gets my adrenaline up enough to carry on.

    I keep about an 18 hr work day; I'm a law student and I have a pretty demanding internet project. So these techniques keep me from losing it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Caffeine messes with your blood sugar. I think it causes your pancreas to go wacky, and it certainly kills your appetite.

    I was a heavy coffee drinker for 8 years and I didn't eat breakfast because I had no appetite. Eating sugar in the afternoon made me fall asleep. After I finally quit my reaction to sugar normalized and I feel a billion times healthier.

    I'd have to say that moderation is the key. Make sure you eat right if you are going to ingest a lot of caffeine and it is probably wise not to drink alot of soda which is full of sugar.

  • What about girls?

    What about girls? I'm so wired on caffeine right now that I'm not even horny, I'd rather find a X-Window for my NT so I can play lincity without leaving my cube to go into the lab.

    More seriously, caffeine can cause breast tenderness and lumps, if I recall.

  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @07:17AM (#1616303)
    Wonderful! Now I will be smart, impotent, and resistant to radiation! The evolution of a new human subspecies!

    Actually, if you read the article, you see that the indication of neural growth is in the dendrite fibers. If you don't remember from high school biology, the dendrites are the feathery tentacles on one side of the nerve cell opposite to the long trailing axon on the other. Here's a pic:

    http://www.pva.org/pn/9805cell/fig1a.gif [pva.org]

    These scientists in Israel have remarked that prolonged exposure to caffeiene promotes growth of the dendrite forest. New dendrite trunks don't sprout, but the ones that alread exist become "leafier". Now, there are many theories about what constitutes a "smart" brain. Repeated study of Einstein's chilled gray blob have failed to turn up any manifest differences from brains of the average population. However, it's generally accepted that the interconnection between cells, handled by the axons and dendrites, has a bearing on our ability to remember data and patterns. The better and more efficient your connections, the faster you can see patterns in your daily experiences, and the smarter you are.

    The key word is "efficient". This caffeiene-promoted boost in dendrite growth may be fairly random. If so, then the connections it is forming between cells may not be relevant to efficient pattern retrieval. This would actually slow down your thought processes by weaking the strength of the electrochemical signal along the "correct" pattern pathway. Your axon bodies only release so much neurotransmitter at any given time, so the potency is weakened by a proliferation of recipient dendrites.

    Don't throw away your textbooks just yet.

  • As an avid coffee drinker, I like the news, but there's a lot more research to do. Based on the article, I'm curious what happens in people that take calcium supplements. (The research seems to state that calcium imposed from outside the cell is bad, while releasing it from inside the cell is good -- so what's the good way to get calcium into the cell in the first place, slow diffusion over time?)

    The other half of this is that coffee contains something like six or seven dozen different chemicals (if memory serves; it's at least fifty), caffeine is only one of 'em and most of the rest are still unidentified. Translation: we're still not sure what the others do to us...

    (Peers over rim of coffee cup) Excuse me, looks like it's time for my next cup.

    Livin' on the edge, that's me.
  • The findings point to a need for further research into these processes, since they suggest that a modest, temporary rise in calcium levels results in growth and proliferation of these important brain cells, while a larger and more prolonged rise causes the cells to collapse. The implications for long-term memory and learning are not yet clear.

    The article seemed to come to the conclusion that an excess of calcium can actually cause brain cells to collapse. Can an excess of caffeine trigger an excess of calcium in the brain? If so, wouldn't caffeine only be good for you in moderation (like most things)?
  • I suggest checking out the Caffeine and Coffee FAQs - click here. [cs.unb.ca]

    I also just finished working with the FAQ's maintainer on a trimmed down version for Palm Pilot (in case you eve need to decide between Sugar Free Mr. Pibb and Dr. Pepper striclty on Caffeine content). I don't think he's linked them yet, but you can go to my page [dhs.org] to get them (in the Palm Pilot section).

  • by Johnath ( 85825 ) on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @08:34AM (#1616329) Homepage
    I suggest checking out the Caffeine and Coffee FAQs - click here. [cs.unb.ca]

    I also just finished working with the FAQ's maintainer on a trimmed down version for Palm Pilot (in case you eve need to decide between Sugar Free Mr. Pibb and Dr. Pepper striclty on Caffeine content). I don't think he's linked them yet, but you can go to my page [dhs.org] to get them (in the Palm Pilot section).


  • If this dendrite growth is more random, making the connections it forms irrelevant to efficient pattern retrieval, it sounds very much like it would enhance associativity at the expense of logical thinking.
    You could almost call that enhancing creativity at the expense of intelligence. You could also call it schizophrenia (tendency to associate _incorrectly_). However, there's one thing that's quite clear- 'thinking outside the box' or making conceptual jumps requires more than simple logical and efficient pattern retrieval. What sane, logical person would have speculated on how to make a consumer computer and decided, "I know! I'll make it a bright, transparent gumdrop!"? The idea is totally insane- but it worked and is still working.
    That's just one example of many- but the point is that if caffeine increases connections in this manner, it could be said to enhance innovation. This also suggests that innovation is on the borderline between logic and schizophrenia- the 'sweet spot' is ideas wacky enough to be innovative, but not so foolish as to be useless. That, as well, changes as the environment changes- many computer things would have been foolish five or ten years ago. 3D video games? Yeah right ;) dynamic light sources in 'em? Impossible, there's too much calculation ;) now, what is foolishly unrealistic today?
  • The brain is one seriously ad-hoc architecture. At a basic level, there is impulse: smell coffee, raise cup. To avoid having this cause problems in awkward circumstances (like when using hands for more interesting things [more interesting than coffee? Hmmmm]) there is a review process (think gatekeeper) that checks impulses before execution.

    This gatekeeper, being a relative latecomer in evolutionary terms, isn't particularly robust. Lots of things can take it offline, such as alcohol, which explains why a depressant (alcohol) can act as an apparent stimulant.

    Likewise, people with ADHD actually have soporific gatekeepers and thus for them the very thought is the deed ("No, Honey, I really didn't mean to spill coffee all over that white shirt while we were kissing!") Stimulants "wake up" the 'gatekeeper' and allow the subject to stop foot before oral insertion.

    Lots more of this over on alt.support.attn-deficit

    HTH. HAND.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 1999 @09:25AM (#1616336)
    In graduate school, my metabolism started slowing down, and because I was under high pressure, I started drinking coffee to speed myself up. Eventually I became a total fiend, consuming coffee nearly all day every day and was always very wired. Eventually I started noticing that my memories of my undergrad (pre-coffee) days were there but were not vivid at all. And I had very few spontaneous memories for that time frame... I only remembered specific stuff if i worked hard at it.

    Many years later I finally quit caffiene, and began the slowdown from being permanently wired to "normal". The weird thing is that alot of those memories from the pre-coffee days came flooding back unsolicited. I'll be walking down the street and some random memory that I haven't though of in 10 years will just pop up.

  • Finally, a reason to make caffienated milk. I need my caffiene to wake up every day, but I also drink a gallon or so of milk every day too. I've always thought that if I could get both at the same time, I'd be much happier. Calcium to supply my brain cells, and the caffeine to release it. Nice.
  • Great, so I'll have better long-term memory, I'll be cranky, short-tempered, not sleep well, have headaches when I can't get my fix, my hands will shake so that it's impossible to do fine work, and I'll get anxiety attacks.

    No thanks. I'm not going back. Some people can "do" 'ffeine. Others can't.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Ok. Here we go. In really basic lame terms.

    People with ADD actually have brains that are "craving" stimulation, because their brains are understimulated, there is less going on. It sounds counter-intuitative, but think about it, it makes senese and its biology (bio-psychology). The ADD brain, running low on stimulation wants that extra thing to do to try and get normal in a sense.

    So you can see how caffine will calm you down. It stimulates your brain and brings you to normal, so therefore you feel more calm and closer to "normal"

  • Although many people believe that Caffeine prevents the absorbtion of calcium, this is not necessarily the case. this link [homearts.com] goes into greater detail on the matter.

User hostile.