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Need to crunch for that exam tomorrow? Go ahead and get yourself a double shot espresso -- researchers say it will actually help.
A new study in the journal Nature Neuroscience suggests that the same amount of caffeine you'd find in a strong cup of coffee can enhance long-term memory.
Researchers studied the post-effects of taking 200 milligrams of caffeine in pill form. Those in the study did better on a memory test the next day, compared to the people given placebo pills.
Researchers from John Hopkins University took salivary samples from participants before and after taking the pills. The day after the participants ingested caffeine, they were show images similar to photos show to them the day before. This test is for the ability called pattern separation.
"If we used a standard recognition memory task without these tricky similar items, we would have found no effect of caffeine," study researcher Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at the university, said in a statement.
To see if more caffeine lead to better memory boosts, the researchers tried the trial again with 300 miligrams of caffeine, instead of 200. The results were about the same as with the first dose, but some of the test subjects felt nauseous.
Overloads of caffeine can have negative side effects such as nausea or dizziness. Yassa and other experts say caffeine is OK in moderation.