“Coffee has been getting considerable attention for a growing list of health benefits, with brain health high among them. While not without a few downsides, studies have shown impressive upsides of moderate coffee consumption, often linked to its high caffeine content. But a new lab study suggests that when it comes to brain health, coffee offers more than the stimulating effects of our favorite legal drug–in fact, decaf could be just as effective [Read more…] about Moderate coffee consumption may promote brain health — and it’s not because of caffeine
“At a conference near Washington, D.C., in February, the commander of all Navy special operations units made an unusual request to industry: Develop and demonstrate technologies that offer “cognitive enhancement” capabilities to boost his elite forces’ mental and physical performance [Read more…] about Cognitive enhancement at the edge: The US Navy tests neuro-priming and other non-pharmacological aids to boost cognition and performance
Most SharpBrains readers understand the benefits of stress regulation, and also the benefits of sleep. Recommendations for sleep hygiene are well publicized. They include avoiding alcohol and stimulants like caffeine; sticking to regular bed and wake times (even if you don’t get enough sleep); exposing [Read more…] about For a good night’s rest, combine general sleep hygiene with mindful and cognitive techniques
A few eternal questions:
— Is caffeine good for the brain?
— Does it boost cognitive functions?
— Does it protect against dementia?
There is little doubt that drinking that morning cup of coffee will likely increase alertness, but the main questions that research is trying to answer go beyond that. Basically: is there a sustained, lifetime, benefit or harm from drinking coffee regularly?
The answer, so far, contains good news and bad news. The good news for coffee drinkers is that most of the long-term results are directionally more positive than negative, so no clear harm seems to occur. The bad news is that it is not clear so far whether caffeine has beneficial effects on general brain functions, either short-term or long-term (aged-related decline or risks of dementia).
It is important to note that many of the studies showing an effect of coffee consumption on brain functions or risks of dementia report a correlation or association (they are not randomized clinical trials). As you know, correlation doesn’t prove causation: coffee drinkers may seem to do well in a number in these long-term studies, but there may be other reasons why coffee drinkers do better.
Q: How does caffeine affect my brain?
A: Caffeine is a stimulant.
It belongs to a chemical group called xanthine. Adenosine is a naturally occurring xanthine in the brain that slows down the activity of brain cells (neurons). To a neuron, caffeine looks like adenosine. It is therefore used by some neurons in place of adenosine. The result is that these neurons speed up instead of slowing down.
This increased neuronal activity triggers the release of the adrenaline hormone, which will affect your body [Read more…] about Does Coffee Boost Brain/ Cognitive Functions Over Time?