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Caffeine and Coffee

…coffee to make you smile

You get more of a boost from coffee, than from taking plain caffeine

New research carried out by Portuguese scientists has found that “The boost people get from drinking a cup of coffee can’t be replicated with plain caffeine”.

The Study: Coffee vs. Plain Caffeine

The results of their study, published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience found that plain caffeine only partially reproduced the effects of drinking a cup of coffee.

Methodology: Preparing for the Coffee Study

People who participated in the study were asked to refrain from eating or drinking caffeinated beverages for at least three hours beforehand.

They were given an MRI scan 30 minutes before consuming either one cup of coffee or a dose of caffeine, then had another MRI 30 minutes later.

Findings: Different Brain Responses to Coffee and Caffeine

The results showed a clear difference between the two.

Although consumption of either showed decreased nerve connectivity in the brain’s default mode network, which is involved in introspection and self-reflection processes, the coffee drinkers’ scans also showed an increase in the connectivity between the brain’s more advanced nerve network controlling vision, and other parts involved in working memory, cognitive control and goal-directed behaviour.

This was not present in the scans of those who had been given caffeine.

Conclusion: The Unique Effect of Coffee

“The subjects were more ready for action and alert to external stimuli after having coffee,” study co-author Maria Picó-Pérez said.

At the moment, however, it is not clear whether the additional features identified by the scans are the result of other factors, such as the particular smell and taste of the drink or the psychological expectation associated with it.

Evidence, if any were needed, that a morning cuppa helps to make you ready to start your day!

…coffee to make you smile
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