Brain scans confirm what many coffee drinkers already know: Caffeine perks them up.
The caffeine found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate stimulates areas of the brain that govern short-term memory and attention, Austrian researchers said Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans performed on the brains of 15 subjects who had just consumed caffeine equal to that found in two cups of coffee showed increased activity in the frontal lobe, where the working memory is located, and in the anterior cingulum, which controls attention.
Participants who were subjected to a 12-hour period without caffeine and a four-hour period without nicotine, another recognized stimulant found in cigarettes, were better able to remember a sequence of letters after consuming 100 milligrams of caffeine. Reaction times on short-term memory tests also improved.