Sunday, September 2, 2012

Caffeine and the Brain

This semester landed me back in school, pursuing a degree for the first time. Which makes me one of those "non-traditional" students. It's fun! Reading, writing, and . . . well, thankfully no arithmetic yet.

This week, psychology required finding a scientific journal article about a psychoactive drug, and then writing a review of said article. After being introduced to coffee this summer (and surprisingly loving it!), its effects on the brain provided a natural topic for the research. A couple of words in the search engine on the school library's website, and wa-la!

"Coffee, tea, chocolate, and the brain."

Two Spanish authors used a method called meta-analysis, looking at at least four studies done over the course of five years and integrating the results.

And here's what they found:

In low to moderate doses, caffeine improves moods, increases alertness and physical activity, and enhances cognitive capacities. Of course, in excess it causes irritability and disturbs sleep. So as long as we keep this thing in moderation, we'll be good. Right? =)

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