Regular consumption of caffeine negatively affects brain structure

Experts from the University of Basel showed that regular consumption of caffeine reduces the volume of gray matter. But the effect was temporary - ten days of abstinence from caffeine help regenerate gray matter. The results were published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

The study involved a group of 20 healthy young people, each of whom drank coffee regularly every day. The subjects took tablets containing caffeine for 10 days. At the end of the intake period, scientists studied the volume of the subjects' gray matter using brain scans. They also examined participants' sleep quality by recording the electrical activity of the brain (EEG).

A comparison of the data showed that participants' sleep depth was the same whether they took caffeine or placebo capsules. But there was a significant difference in gray matter volume. After 10 days of taking the caffeine capsules, gray matter volume was lower than after the same period of taking the placebo. The difference was especially noticeable in the right medial temporal lobe, including the hippocampus (an area of the brain that is important for organizing memory).

However, the researchers emphasize that the findings do not necessarily mean that caffeine intake has a negative effect on the brain. Cognitive function is only affected by daily intake. Although caffeine reduced gray matter volume, just 10 days of abstinence restored nerve cell loss. The changes in brain morphology were temporary.

Feb. 17, 2021, 3:52 p.m.

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