Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Coffee and Donuts Make You Smarter - Really?
In a study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, researchers at the University of Barcelona discovered that the caffeine-glucose combo boosts your brain in terms of attention and memory. And here we thought that stuff was bad for us. D’oh!
Researchers tapped 72 men and women, ages 18 to 25, for their caffeine/glucose experiments which, sadly, involved neither Starbucks nor Krispy Kreme donuts. After fasting overnight, subjects received doses of water, water plus caffeine, water plus glucose, or water plus caffeine and glucose (about the same amount you’d get in two soft drinks). Then they were tested on attention, manual dexterity, visuo-spatial and frontal functions and memory via a battery of tests such as remembering a list of 15 repeated words; taking a peg from a cup and quickly inserting it into a hole; sorting cards imprinted with shapes, numbers or colors; and repeating a series of numbers forward and backward. In other words, standard staff meeting stuff.
As it turned out, the subjects’ reaction time improved in water spiked with either caffeine or glucose (glucose gave a bump to their manual dexterity, as well). But a combination of caffeine and glucose showed beneficial effects on attention and on learning and consolidation of verbal memory,; in other words, the coffee-sugar combination boosted the effects of both substances, making the test subjects’ brains more efficient.
As usual, researchers say further studies are needed, particularly with regard to investigating the “effects of caffeine and glucose, alone and in combination, with repeated doses.”