Caffeine consumed in large quantities may negatively affect our ability to learn and remember, new research by American scientists suggests. Their findings may be surprising, but the researchers emphasize the need to conduct further research in this area.
The results of new research on the effects of caffeine, published in the journal “Frontiers in Psychiatry”, were described by scientific portals in the last days of November. Researchers from Butler Hospital in Providence w USA examined how caffeine affects the functioning of the human brain. Their findings turned out to be surprising.
The effect of caffeine on the brain
New research suggests that excessive caffeine use may impair learning and memory abilities. This is supposed to be caused by limiting neuroplasticity (brain plasticity), i.e. the ability of neural tissues to create new connections between neurons.
20 participants took part in the study. 16 people drank one to five drinks containing caffeine a day, and four people drank almost no caffeine. Their brain activity was then monitored using transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).
Researchers have found that heavy caffeine consumption affects a process called long-term synaptic potentiation (LTP), which strengthens connections between neurons and is crucial for the brain to absorb new information. It was noticed that people who did not drink caffeinated drinks had much stronger LTP than people who drank a lot of them.
Coffee makes learning harder?
The research results led scientists to the conclusion that drinking large amounts of coffee or other caffeine-containing drinks may reduce brain plasticity, i.e. its ability to learn and remember.
However, the researchers emphasized that for now this is only a hypothesis, which should become the starting point for in-depth research. Their results were obtained on a small research sample – only 20 people, and the researchers did not verify the amount of caffeinated drinks they declared. “The excessive use of caffeine as we see it in the real world has not yet been studied,” the authors emphasized.
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