How Coffee Benefits Long-Term Memory

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New research shows that a cup of coffee may improve everyday long-term memories. The study, conducted at Johns Hopkins University, asked participants to memorize a list of objects. Afterward, they were given either a placebo or 200 milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to a little more than one cup of coffee). The next day, they were tested again. The group that took caffeine had 10 percent better recall.

“The people who took caffeine had a much more detailed recollection of what they saw,” says Michael Yassa, the lead author of the paper. “Caffeine has long been ingested for its cognition-enhancing properties: It makes you more alert, you focus on the task at hand better; that’s been tested in many studies,” Yassa says.

While coffee has been shown to fight Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, age-related cognitive decline, and even liver disease, this is the first study to tackle its impacts on long-term memories.

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