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Coffee A Memory Booster?
That afternoon cup of coffee could be doing more than just warming you up.
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If you are finding your memory slipping lately, perhaps the first thing to remember is to have your morning coffee. In a recent study from the University of Arizona that will be published in the January 2002 issue of Psychological Science by the American Psychological Society researches have found that the stimulant affect of caffeine can help boost memory.

The lead author of the study Lee Ryan, UA assistant professor of psychology says that memory is often at optimal levels early in the morning in older adults (over age 65) but tends to decline as the day progresses. Ryan said. Her study tested whether a simple stimulant - caffeine, in this case - would have an effect on this decline.

The 40 participants, all over age 65, and active and independent, were tested at 8 a.m. and again at 4 p.m. on scheduled days. The test used was the California Verbal Learning Test. Subjects were given coffee during both the morning and afternoon test segments.

One group received 12-ounce cups of regular coffee containing approximately 220 to 270 mg of caffeine. A control group drank decaffeinated coffee, which usually has no more than 5-10 mg of caffeine per serving. Ryan said participants could not tell whether they were drinking regular or decaf.

The researchers found that participants who drank decaffeinated coffee "showed a significant decline in memory performance from morning to afternoon." The group who ingested the caffeine showed no decline in performance on the memory tests.

Ryan says the study and its results are not meant to endorse the consumption of coffee or caffeine, stating that other stimulants would probably have worked just as well. All the study participants were regular coffee drinkers. People who do not consume coffee regularly might have experienced negative side effects (shakiness, anxiety, and decreased concentration).

Anyone ready for a hot cup of coffee?

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