(HealthDay News) – Caffeine enhances memory consolidation when given shortly after a learning task, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in Nature Neuroscience.
Daniel Borota, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 160 healthy caffeine-naive subjects, aged 18–30 years. Participants incidentally studied images of objects and were then given 200mg of caffeine or placebo. Twenty-four hours later, the subjects were shown images, including some from the previous day, some new items, and some items that were similar, but not identical, to those seen previously.
The researchers found that both groups correctly classified pictures as old or new. However, participants who received caffeine were more likely to classify the similar pictures correctly, compared with participants who received placebo. This effect was not observed with caffeine at doses of 100mg, which correlated with performance that was not significantly different from placebo (P=0.32); performance with 300mg caffeine was not significantly different from the 200mg caffeine condition (P=0.75). The effect was not seen when caffeine was administered before the test on the second day (P=0.53).
“We conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans,” Borota and colleagues write.