Caffeine Benefits for Memory Consolidation and Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Memory Consolidation and Retention

Researchers at John Hopkins University conclude that caffeine can enhance “consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”

As with any active ingredient, caffeine should be consumed in moderation, but there is evidence that an average amount of caffeine consumption may have certain health benefits, including warding against memory loss.  The amount given to the subjects in the John Hopkins study was a single, 200mg dose of caffeine.

Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, said “Almost all prior studies administered caffeine before the study session, so if there is an enhancement, it’s not clear if it’s due to caffeine’s effects on attention, vigilance, focus, or other factors. By administering caffeine after the experiment, we rule out all of these effects and make sure that if there is an enhancement, it’s due to memory and nothing else.”

Alzheimer’s Prevention

Memory Mouse StudyAnother study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease dosed mice with dementia indicators with caffeine over a two month period.  After the testing period, the caffeinated mice outperformed the control group in tests measuring their memory and thinking skills.

The caffeinated group was actually on par with normal mice (those without any indicators of dementia).  This finding indicates that caffeine may help to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms in those that are predisposed to the disease.

Lead author Gary Arendash, PhD, a USF neuroscientist with the Florida ADRC said, “The new findings provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable ‘treatment’ for established Alzheimer’s disease, and not simply a protective strategy.”

Cited Studies:

  • Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans; Nature Neuroscience 17, 201–203
  • Caffeine Suppresses Amyloid-β Levels in Plasma and Brain of Alzheimer’s Disease Transgenic Mice; Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 17:3 (July 2009).