Recent research into caffeine consumption suggests that it significantly reduces the volume of gray matter in the human brain. However, it is worth emphasizing that the scientists note that we are not talking about a negative effect on the brain, but rather a temporary neuroplasticity, which is worth further investigation. It is worth noting here that our brain and central nervous center are made up of white and gray matter, the first of which is largely well vascularized clusters of neuronal projections whose bodies are located in the latter. New research shows that it is highly susceptible to the effects of caffeine, which may be alarming, especially since, on the other hand, it is more and more often mentioned that it has a neuroprotective effect, e.g. in the context of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Therefore, the aim of the study was to carefully investigate the effect of caffeine on gray matter volume in young and healthy people – with an emphasis on the answer to the question whether the effect of caffeine on gray matter is due to the effect of substances on sleep, as it has already been shown that interrupted sleep can lead to to such a reduction. The research involved 20 participants who were assigned to two 10-day programs. The first was to take three caffeine tablets a day and the second to take the same number of placebo capsules. At the end of each program, the gray matter volume of the participants was measured by fMRI and EEG wave activity.
The results revealed a significant reduction in gray matter volume after 10 days with caffeine, which was not seen after 10 days with placebo. Even more importantly, scientists found no differences in the recording of brain waves during sleep, suggesting that the effects of caffeine on gray matter are not due to its effect on sleep, but to its unique properties. The effect of caffeine on the brain has been reported to be significant in the area of the frontal lobe containing the hippocampus and responsible for memory formation and spatial orientation. Carolin Reichert, author of a new study from the University of Basel, points out that the changes induced by caffeine consumption seem to reverse quickly when you cut down on caffeine intake: – Brain changes look temporary, but so far we’ve had far too little comparative studies between drinkers and nonsmokers coffee.
Reichert is also cautious about claiming that her research shows the detrimental effects of caffeine on cognitive functioning, especially since there are also studies from other centers that suggest otherwise. It cannot be denied that this may be due to the fact that her research was conducted on young and healthy people, while the earlier studies concerned rather elderly and sick people who already showed a natural degradation of brain functioning. Our research does not necessarily indicate that caffeine consumption negatively affects the brain. But daily caffeine consumption affects our cognitive components, which should encourage us to do more research, she adds.
Source: GeekWeek.pl/University of Basel
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