One cup of joe and your brain is ready to go

BY Justin Scuiletti  January 13, 2014 at 7:08 PM EDT
Photo by Flickr user Doug88888

Photo by Flickr user Doug88888

Your morning cup of coffee jumpstarts your memory.

That’s according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who have discovered that caffeine can improve memory for up to 24 hours.

For the study, participants looked at a bunch of images. Five minutes later, they were blindly given a pill of either caffeine or a placebo. A day later they were shown a similar — but not the same — series of images. Those who had the caffeine were more likely to point out that the images were not the same ones they’d been shown the day before. To the researchers, this was proof the caffeine enhanced their memory.

“To actually give caffeine after the study phase is something that has never been done in human studies before,” said Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins. “You really exclude all the other effects that are non-memory. It becomes about memory more than anything else.”

Researchers also found that the amount of caffeine can have varying effects on memory. Yassa said the “optimal dose” was around 200 milligrams, which is equivalent to one strong cup of coffee. “Above that dose people start to report some unfortunate side effects like headaches and nausea and so on,” he said. “And below that you really don’t get the benefit.”

Video by Johns Hopkins University

H/T Bridget Bowman