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 Coffee and the Brain 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:55 pm
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Post Coffee and the Brain
Most caffeine addicts would tell you that coffee sharpens the mind. It turns out that in rodents, a single dose of caffeine does indeed strengthen brain cell connections in an underappreciated part of the brain, scientists report online November 20 in Nature Neuroscience.

A clearer idea of caffeine’s effect on the brain could allow scientists to take advantage of its stimulating effects and perhaps even alleviate some symptoms of brain disorders. “Caffeine is something people are very interested in,” says neuroscientist Susan Masino of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., who was not involved in the study.

So far, most of caffeine’s effects have been illuminated by studies using doses much higher than an average person’s morning cup of joe, says study coauthor Serena Dudek of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Dudek and her team looked at the effects of smaller hits of caffeine on a small part of the hippocampus. In humans, this seahorse-shaped structure is buried deep in the brain behind the ears. After feeding rats the equivalent of two human cups of coffee (two milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight), the team measured the strength of nerve cells’ electrical messages in slices of brain tissue. Nerve cells in this particular nook — a brain region called CA2 — got a major jolt from caffeine, showing a bigger burst of electrical activity when researchers stimulated the cells. Nerve cells in a neighboring part of the hippocampus didn’t show this sensitivity.

And the higher the caffeine dose, the stronger the effect. A caffeine dose 10 times higher — a dose reached by only die-hard caffeine consumers — caused an even bigger response in nerve cells in the CA2 region.

The team found similar effects when they applying caffeine directly to CA2 nerve cells in a dish, a result that rules out effects from post-caffeine changes in blood flow. After five minutes of caffeine exposure, the synapses stayed amped up for three hours.

“We don’t know what it looks like in humans, but in rodents, we think this is the area most sensitive to caffeine,” Dudek says.

These strengthened synapses in the hippocampus may have a role in learning and memory, which makes sense because one of the main jobs of the hippocampus is to form spatial memories. (After navigating London’s labyrinthine roads for years, for instance, cab drivers have larger hippocampi than normal folks.)

Though the results are the first to establish CA2 as a caffeine hot spot, it’s too early to say how the research will apply to people, says psychologist Harris Lieberman of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. “It’s hard to jump from these kinds of studies to direct application to humans.”

It's always interesting to see the effects of food and beverage in detail.

Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:43 pm
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Post Re: Coffee and the Brain
Do You Drink Coffee & Tea Regularly? Here’s What It Could Be Doing To Your Brain
Collective EvolutionJune 27, 2016

According to a number of recent studies, coffee and tea could keep your brain healthy, and provide protection from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. This is good news, at least for the approximately 70 million Americans who consume three cups of coffee each day (and the astounding 21 million of them who drink six or more every day). Although there have been side effects associated with drinking coffee, like insomnia, irritability, muscle tremors, and more, if consumed responsibly, coffee as well as tea seems to have several health benefits.
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One example comes from Japan, where the simple smell of specific coffee beans increases the alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with relaxation and meditation. The study also found that coffee can improve productivity and focus. You can read more about that here.

A fairly recent and large study investigated the link between depression and the intake of coffee, tea, and sweet drinks. After following approximately 300,000 people, researchers at the National Institutes of Health determined that coffee intake was associated with a slightly lower risk of depression. (source)

According to Scientific American, “some studies suggest that coffee and tea drinkers have lower rates of cognitive decline, too, but the evidence is mixed.” They go on to mention that “research in rodents that has focused on specific compounds in coffee and tea supports the idea that some of these chemicals reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

They cite a study that was published last June in Neurobiology of Aging, where the researchers supplemented the diets of rats with a component of coffee. As a results, the animals’ brains were shielded against the changes that take place in the brain which are typical of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

They also cite a 2013 study in which another experiment found the same compound to have protective effects against Parkinson’s disease in mouse models.

Definitely some intriguing research that warrants further investigation, but it’s interesting to see that science is shedding light on a drink that has always been used as a vice to receive a quick energy boost.

Another example comes in the form of colon cancer treatment. Among people who have stage three colon cancer, drinking at least four cups of coffee daily actually reduced the risk of cancer recurrence or death by more than 50 percent. Drinking at least two cups a day lowered the risk by 31 percent.

Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:32 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:00 pm
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Post Re: Coffee and the Brain
A good bit of my life has been power by coffee.

Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:45 am
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:55 pm
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Post Re: Coffee and the Brain
The reasoning for so many posts have been unveiled today...

Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:48 am
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