Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caffeine strengthens synapses

Can caffeine help us learn A&P (or anything else)?  Can it improve our memory?

Recent research published in Nature Neuroscience this week suggests that the answer may be yes.  In animal studies, caffeine strengthened synaptic connections in the hippocampus of the brain.  That's not enough to demonstrate that caffeine will be an effective learning enhancer . . . but is does suggest the possibility.

We've been talking about synapses and memory in our A&P 1 course recently, so I thought you might also.  And perhaps want to drop in this tidbit about the latest research.

Next time our students ask how they can possibly remember everything in the A&P course, perhaps a trip to the campus coffee shop may be in order, eh?

Want to know more?
Coffee delivers jolt deep in the brain
Laura Sanders
Science News Web edition : Monday, November 21st, 2011

[A brief synopsis discussing the discovery.]

Caffeine-induced synaptic potentiation in hippocampal CA2 neurons
Stephen B Simons, et. al.
Nature Neuroscience (2011) Published online 20 November 2011 doi:10.1038/nn.2962

[The original research article]

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