Joel Callen

News

Tue, 9 Jun, 2015

A cup of coffee is good for stress, depression and memory loss

A cup of coffee is good for stress, depression and memory loss

A team of scientists from Portugal, Brazil and the USA have been studying how caffeine affects the brain, and how it can reduce the impact of stress. Using mice as test subjects, the team found that caffeine had a calming effect on the brain.

Some of the mice were given caffeine in their drinking water, while others were not. Both groups were then placed under stress, and it was shown that the animals who had been given caffeine coped with the situation much better.

The team found that caffeine blocks a stress-related chemical, and prevented issues associated with stress, such as memory loss. Associate Professor Rodrigo Cunha revealed, “What caffeine is doing is not to make the system work better. What caffeine is doing is avoiding the system going into the wrong way of working. So it’s a prevention of deterioration, rather than an improvement.”

Previous studies have shown that caffeine could help reduce depression, but it remained unclear whether this was the result of buying a cup of coffee, or the caffeine itself. These latest results however, indicate that it is the caffeine itself that combats depression.

Associate Professor Cunha noted that the human brain was very different to the brain of a mouse, and further investigation was needed, but that the latest study was a step towards better treatments for stress and associated illnesses.

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