Want a new reason to enjoy a cup of coffee? There is new scientific evidence that coffee is a totally natural brain food — it actually improves your short-term memory, your concentration, and even speeds up your reaction times.
By acting on your brain’s prefrontal cortex and directly improving your brain power.
Researchers at Austria’s Medical University at Innsbruck used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see how coffee activates the brain.
Prior to testing — 15 volunteers fasted for 4 to 6 hours, and abstained from caffeine and nicotine for at least 24 hours. They then drank either a cup of strong coffee containing 100 milligrams of caffeine, or a caffeine-free placebo drink.
After 20 minutes all participants had brain scans while taking a memory and concentration test. A few days later the experiment was repeated under the same conditions, with each subject receiving the alternative drink.
All of the subjects showed activation of the working memory part of the brain, researcher Koppelstter explains. But those who received caffeine had significantly greater activation in parts of the prefrontal lobe – the areas involved in executive memory, attention, concentration, planning and monitoring.
Koppelstter adds that the study shows that coffee has an effect on specific brain regions involved in memory and concentration, and that tallies with anecdotal evidence of the drink’s pick-me-up effect.
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Posted by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler